How to Take Control of Crohn’s Flare-Ups
With Crohn's, inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract can come and go as diet, exercise, sleep, sickness, or any number of factors are either present or absent. Sometimes, symptoms can occur for no apparent reason. Many individuals can go multiple days, even weeks without any symptoms or signs of inflammation. Then, all of the sudden, symptoms can flare up and persist.
During a flare-up, a person’s gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed, which can lead to frequent or urgent bowel movements and pain in the abdomen. In some cases, this can lead to fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, bloody stool, and diarrhea. If nothing is done to prevent flare-ups, symptoms can progressively get worse over time. Any number of symptoms can be present, since the GI tract runs from the mouth to the anus, and any and all symptoms should be reported to doctors as they occur.
Managing flare ups is an essential part of maintaining a high quality of life, and there are many tangible steps that can lead to a quick relief of symptoms. Additionally, many preventative measures can be taken to promote healing in the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to less frequent and less severe flare-ups. In treating Crohn’s disease, the goal should always be to prevent and reduce the severity of symptoms. While the disease may not be curable yet, it is certainly manageable.
- Communicate with the doctor- missed, skipped and improper prescribed medications may cause flare ups. Number one cause of symptoms is an imbalance in medications. There might be a need to adjust the prescribed medications if after resuming the medications the symptoms persist or continue. A regimen of medications that make symptoms worse can be prevented by keeping an open line of communication with the doctor. Sometimes the severity and frequency of flare may reduce by taking additional medications. During intense flare ups often corticosteroids are prescribed. During inflammation the body needs an extra boost. You may get solutions by talking with a gastroenterologist or a primary health care provider.
- With doctor’s approval seek OTC relief- when you change your medications, it may take a while to show improvement. The symptoms may still persist. Many of these are mild and with the help of OTC can be relieved. To relieve any pain or fever symptoms, Tylenol can be used. For diarrhoea, loperamide can be used. Taking vitamin A and D or supplements will help relieve anal rawness or soreness. But even the OTC medications have side effects. Crohn’s disease may be aggravated by anti inflammatory medications. Also interaction may take place between these and the OTC medications.
- Get more nourishment- often due to malnourishment, fatigue and sickness may occur. Receiving proper nourishment can be a problem for people with Crohn’s disease. In order to function, these people require more calories. But having an appetite can be hard and the person’s ability to absorb nutrients can be interfered by the disease. A key to prevent flare ups and future complications is eating properly. Also after eating, the medications should be taken. The dietary need of each person is different. People with Crohn’s disease should include foods that contain proteins, carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
- Avoid foods that trigger symptoms- certain foods can cause gas or trigger symptoms. These include caffeine, dairy products, caffeine, and nuts. Identify your trigger and avoid those foods. Do not risk malnutrition. Find out which foods can cause flare ups of Crohn’s disease.
- Vitamin supplements- people with Crohn’s receive less nutrition. To determine whether additional supplements are needed, work with a dietician. There is a higher risk of developing vitamin or mineral deficiency with Crohn’s disease. A common trigger is dairy source and but it is also a source of calcium. Another source is yogurt and it contains very less lactose. Also watch out for vitamin B12, potassium, folic acid, magnesium and vitamin D. in your regular diet include these vitamins.
- Drink fluids- diarrhoea may cause dehydration. This can cause weakness and fatigue. Over time kidney may get damaged due to chronic dehydration. These consequences can be avoided by drinking enough water and after exercise or during flare ups, it is good to drink water. You can even hydrate yourself with clear liquids and herbal teas. Based on weight you can calculate water requirements. Per pound of body weight drink half ounce of liquid.
- Adjust your life- after making certain adjustments with your life living with the disease is manageable. Continue your life as normal but make periodic adjustments.