Living with Crohn’s Disease: Three Tips for Managing it Better
Living with Crohn's disease isn't easy, but you can make things easier if you learn how to manage it in a healthy way. We've got three tips to help.
If you’re living with Crohn’s disease, it significantly affects your life. People with this disease experience bad cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms that can interfere with their lives and self-esteem. That’s why it’s so important to arm yourself with tools to handle it better.
Since it’s incurable, it can lead to stress and depression, but it’s up to each individual to decide to face it head on. If you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease we have three tips for you. But first, let’s talk about the disease a bit.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic autoimmune disease, and its causes are still unclear. It’s said that there may be genetic causes or that it’s caused by bacteria that your body can’t handle.
If you’re living with Crohn’s disease, your intestines produce a response to unknown agents. This causes inflammation in some part of the digestive tract, though the distal ileum and colon are most commonly affected.
Recommended reading: Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis Details to Know
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms vary according to the area of the digestive tract that has been affected. The main symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite, weight loss
Sometimes, symptoms are more intense, worsen, or come along with others, such as:
- Joint pain and inflammation
- Inflammation of the eyes
- Bloody stool
- Mouth ulcers
- Wounds around the anus
Most of the time the symptoms go away with a few days. However, the duration depends on the severity of the disease. Some people only experience it a few days a year, and then other people have outbreaks every three months or even more frequently.
- Intestinal obstruction
- Anal fissure
Though it’s not life-threatening, living with Crohn’s disease does sometime require surgery to relieve the symptoms. People with Crohn’s disease are at higher risk of colon cancer, which is why it’s so important to keep it under control.
All of this affects the person psychologically as well as physically. When an episode hits, they tend to isolate themselves at home and their lives change. They might not go to work, socialize, or do anything that means leaving the house out of embarrassment or insecurity.
Living with Crohn’s disease
Although it has no cure, Crohn’s disease can be managed. Learning to live with it is key to improving your quality of life and staying health for as long as possible.
If you have Crohn’s disease, here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Get to know your disease
If you want to manage your disease well, you have to know it well. Read and get informed. Your doctor can be a big help here; ask them questions and tell them if you have any concerns.
Get your family and friends involved and informed as well so that they can understand better what you’re going through and help you when needed. Handling a disease with the support of your loved ones will make you feel much better. They will be there for you when you feel down – whether physically or emotionally.
2. Learn how to deal with stress
Even if stress isn’t the cause of Crohn’s disease, it can indeed be a trigger for the symptoms. Your mind has a lot of power over how your feel physically. Don’t let stress and worry overcome you.
Try activities that will relax you and keep your mind positive, like:
- Listening to music
You may also be interested in this article: Treating Crohn’s Disease with the Right Diet
3. Learn how to listen to your body
Your body is constantly talking to you. Listen to it! Learn how to read the signals your body gives you and pay attention to the stimuli around when it does.
For example, pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods so that you can determine whether it’s OK to eat it or not.
Make a list of foods your body doesn’t tolerate well and stay away from them at all cost. Eat a balanced diet and follow your doctor’s nutritional recommendations.
You have control over your mind and body. Don’t let living with Crohn’s disease take over your life; learn to live with it. If you don’t feel well, take the medication your doctor has prescribed, go for a walk, listen to music, or do something that will clear your mind.
Don’t be embarrassed about your disease. Live your life as normally as you can, and always put your health first.