Managing Crohn’s Disease So It Doesn’t Manage You

Gastroenterology Steward Health Care

Individuals with Crohn’s disease sometimes feel isolated by the disease. But the good news is that many people can lead a full life by focusing on keeping their symptoms under control and findings ways to manage the disease.

Crohn’s disease is part of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease or (IBD). It occurs when there is redness and swelling (inflammation) and sores along the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease is a long-term, chronic illness that may come and go at different times in someone’s life.

Ways to Manage Crohn’s

Have a plan to not let Crohn’s disease keep you from the activities you enjoy.
Here are some tips to help you reach this goal:

  • Know where to find clean bathrooms.
  • Eat more small meals instead of three big meals, especially when you won’t have easy access to bathrooms.
  • If you’ve had a recent flare-up, eat foods that you know will limit your symptoms.
  • Get some exercise every day.
  • Take a stress reduction class.
  • If going on a long trip, discuss your plans with your health care 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 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. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s website, http://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org, has information on how to find a support group in your area.

Managing nutrition
People with Crohn’s disease may be able to eat most foods until they have a flare-up. 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 can also 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 health care provider may have you see a registered dietitian to come up with the best food choices for you. A registered dietitian can help make sure that you eat foods that are safe for you while getting proper nourishment.

By adopting these management tools you’ll be able to manage Crohn’s disease so the disease doesn’t manage you.

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