If you’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, you’re already aware of the far-reaching impact this condition can have on your life — the discomfort, the frequent trips to the bathroom, and more. The quality-of-life issues that come with Crohn’s disease are significant, but there are ways to take the teeth out of this insidious condition.
At our practice, Dr. Henry Small specializes in chronic conditions like Crohn’s disease, helping patients regain their freedom to function normally again. As part of our efforts, we believe that patient education and proactive measures are key, which is why we’ve pulled together this piece on what Crohn’s disease is and how you can live more peaceably with the problem.
Crohn’s disease 101
Whether you’ve already been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or you suspect you may have a problem, it’s important to quickly review what Crohn’s disease is so that you better understand the steps you can take to offset it.
At its core, Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract (GI). Crohn’s disease can be episodic, flaring up and then going into remission. It also attacks in different ways so your symptoms may fluctuate, though they usually include one or more of the following:
- Abdominal cramping
- Loss of appetite
- Rectal bleeding, though this isn’t very common
While Crohn’s disease is chronic, which means there’s no cure, there’s much you can do to control the symptoms.
Eat better with Crohn’s disease
Because Crohn’s disease is a problem in your GI tract, diet obviously plays a large role. It’s important that you work with Dr. Small to figure out what seems to trigger your Crohn’s and come up with a plan to avoid these foods or eating habits. In many cases, things like fried or fatty foods, alcohol, and caffeine can set it off, so you may want to avoid these triggers to keep your Crohn’s disease in check.
Further, many of our patients are able to control their Crohn’s by eating smaller meals throughout the day, rather than just a couple of larger ones.
Lifestyle habits matter with Crohn’s disease
Outside of diet, there are some lifestyle habits that may not be doing your Crohn’s disease any favors. For example, smoking can greatly exacerbate your Crohn’s disease, so you can add this to the list of the many reasons why you should give up your tobacco habit.
Also, if you’re under stress, this, too, can trigger your Crohn’s disease. Many of our patients have benefitted from relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, to control their stress, which can help quiet your digestive tract.
Rounding out the list of lifestyle adjustments is exercise. If you engage in activities that get your heart rate up, it helps your digestive system function more smoothly. As an added benefit, if you throw in some weight training to strengthen your bones, you can also prevent osteoporosis, which is a common complication among those who suffer from Crohn’s disease.
Outside of these coping tips, you should also seek our help. Dr. Small can not only help you better manage your symptoms, but he’s also an expert in the area of regenerative cellular therapy, which is showing some promise in helping with Crohn’s disease by beefing up your immune system.
To learn more about living with Crohn’s disease, please contact us to set up an appointment.