Crohn’s disease manifests differently in everyone. Certain foods may trigger symptoms in one patient and not cause a problem for others. Living with the disease can be frustrating and painful, but it is possible to live a full, healthy, happy life with Crohn’s.
When you have Crohn’s, your choices and lifestyle directly impact your physical health. So, while it’s important to find the right doctor, it’s equally as important to make healthy decisions for yourself.
Below, you can find a few tips and resources to help you manage Crohn’s disease and its symptoms.
Keep a food journal
Log your food intake and any symptoms you experience each day. This can help you identify your trigger foods and adjust your diet accordingly. Because Crohn’s is an evolving disease, your body’s response to different foods will change over time. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of your diet and the repercussions.
Eat smaller meals more frequently
Aim to eat five “fist-sized” portions each day, as opposed to the traditional three meals a day. This can help aid in digestion and keep symptoms under control. You may also see improvement if you limit the amount of fatty foods in your diet, avoid dairy products and restrict high-fiber foods.
When you’re stressed, your body releases hormones and chemicals that can make the symptoms of Crohn’s disease more pronounced. And, stress can cause more stress; it’s a recursive cycle. For this reason, it’s crucial that you manage your stress levels when living with Crohn’s. Exercise (even mild exercise like walking) and meditation can help alleviate stress. Therapy sessions may also prove beneficial, while simultaneously offering an opportunity to talk to someone about your struggles and feelings surrounding your condition.
Build a support system
As mentioned above, therapy can serve as a key cornerstone of your support system. Friends, family and support groups for people living with Crohn’s can also help keep your spirits high and your outlook positive. A support system is especially helpful for those newly diagnosed with Crohn’s, because they may feel overwhelmed and have lots of questions about what’s ahead.
Knowledge is power, and knowing is half the battle. Learn everything you can about Crohn’s disease and the treatments that are available. Research frequently; new treatments and medicines are constantly under development and medical science as a field moves quickly.
If you’re looking for even more information about this disease, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is a great place to start.