Dealing with the Cramping of Crohn's
Most people living with Crohn's are all too familiar with cramps. They are one of the most common signs of the disease, and can even cause a unique set of challenges.
Read on for some facts you should be aware of when it comes to Crohn's and cramps.
In Crohn's disease, abdominal cramping can come at any time
When you feel a cramp, you might immediately worry that you're going to get a disease flare. However, it's important to remember that you can still get cramps even in remission. Every cramp isn't going to mean another week or two in the hospital, so hopefully, this fact can help you feel some peace of mind next time you get a cramp in your stomach. The reason that we can get cramps even while in remission is because the inflammation during a flare can change the nerves and muscles that function in our gut. After the flare has calmed down, these functional changes can still persist in our digestive tract, and thus we can still feel cramping from time to time even though the inflammation is now under control.
Cramps come from a lot of different causes
When you're trying to pinpoint the cause of your cramps - you can easily drive yourself crazy! That's because there are just so many possible reasons for why you might be feeling an upset stomach. The causes of your pain are actually extremely important for your doctor to figure out the best strategy for treatment. For example, if your cramping is because of an acute flare, then the top priority should be to get your inflammation down as fast as possible.
However, if your cramping is due to complications of Crohn's such as a stricture, then steroids and anti-inflammatories aren't really the answer. A stricture is when your inflammation has caused your colon to be physically narrower than before, making it harder for contents of your digestive tract to pass through. Oftentimes, people who have abdominal cramps from strictures might not even be experiencing active inflammation any longer. So, the best way to help abdominal pain due to a stricture is not really anti-inflammatory agents, but rather a diet that is low in residue and fiber to help move things along in the narrower parts of the colon.
Abdominal cramping could also be your body's natural reaction to stress
Stress can actually be a cause of abdominal pain. For some time now, researchers and doctors have recognized that an intimate and very real relationship exists between brain and gut. Stress can actually make the digestive tract more sensitive to painful stimuli. If you're suffering from a lot of stress and going through painful cramping, you can try to manage your stress with natural remedies such as yoga, meditation, and tai-chi.
Read on to learn more about the complex relationship between Crohn's disease and abdominal cramping, and how they can be better managed.