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Best Ways to Deal with Crohn's Disease

Start with a plan for everyday situations

Woman having stomach problems

If you have Crohn's disease, you already know it is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). You can lead a full life even if you have it. Focus on keeping your symptoms under control. Don't let this disease isolate you. By planning and working with support groups, you can find ways to cope. And you may even help others who have Crohn's disease.

Have a plan

Make this your goal: "Crohn's disease won't keep me from the activities I enjoy." You may need to do some planning to reach that goal. But by staying positive, you can help make sure you're in control - not the disease. Here are some other tips:

  • Know where to find clean bathrooms.

  • Eat more small meals instead of three big meals, especially when on the road or when you don't have easy access to bathrooms.

  • If you've had a recent flare-up, eat foods that you know will limit your symptoms. Keep those foods on hand, both at home and at work.

  • Get some exercise every day.

  • Take a stress reduction class.

  • If going on a long trip, discuss your plans with your healthcare provider. He or she can teach you what to do if you have a flare-up while on the road.

Find a support group

Crohn's disease support groups can help you with the many concerns you may have. Other people have felt much of what you may be feeling. Just knowing that you're not alone can be a great comfort. Or someone in a support group may offer a travel tip or a coping skill that's perfect for you. And don't forget how satisfying it can feel to help another Crohn's disease patient who's in need.

Managing nutrition

You may be able to eat most foods until you have a flare-up. But like anyone else, you need to make healthy eating choices. Some of the healthiest foods can make symptoms worse, though. Keeping track of your 'problem foods' may be helpful. Ask your healthcare provider any questions you have about healthy eating.

Avoid your problem foods

There's no rule for which foods can be a problem. How you feel after eating them is the best guide. You may need to avoid high-fiber foods and foods that are hard to digest. These can include fresh fruits and vegetables. High-fat foods, such as whole-milk dairy products and red meat, also can worsen symptoms in a flare-up. Write down what you eat and how it affects you. If one kind of food often gives you trouble, stay away from it. Also, note the foods that work well for you. Your healthcare provider may have you see a nutritionist to come up with the best food choices for you. A nutritionist can help ensure that you eat foods that are 'safe' while getting proper nourishment.

Please vote in our unscientific poll. All responses are anonymous.

Which step do you plan on taking first to manage your symptoms better?