Little add-ons for Crohn’s management.
Managing Crohn’s may involve many things and here are a couple. First, it means teaming up with your gastroenterologist to monitor your Crohn’s and set your treatment goals. From there, you can work on a treatment plan to help manage your disease, such as having a prescribed treatment option, and adopting healthy lifestyle practices like diet and exercise.
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It’s time: take stock of Crohn’s impact
Even though symptoms affect everyone differently, there’s one thing that Crohn’s impacts for everyone: time. But just how much? The Crohn’s Companion Impact Tool can help you figure it out.
Healthy practices you can adopt
Life can be unpredictable, especially with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s, but there are things you can do to maintain a healthy lifestyle—like eating a balanced diet, as well as moving your body regularly to help support your immune system. The power of planning can also make a difference.
Here are some practices to live a healthy lifestyle:
At work: Making it work
It’s very helpful to know there are federal and state laws that protect people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) at work, which means that you could speak to HR or your manager to request any reasonable accommodation you might need.
As for the day-to-day work that has to get done, try to keep stress in check and consider working with a mental health professional to see how you can set healthy work practices.
The benefits of exercise are well known. Staying active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It can help reduce stress, maintain a healthy weight, and strengthen your immune system.
But sometimes it can be tough to exercise—especially if you’re experiencing Crohn’s symptoms. If this is happening to you, it might be best to consider low-impact activities like walking. Or, don’t sweat it—you can always take a break from exercise and pick it back up when your symptoms are more under control.
IBD symptoms can cause nutrient deficiencies, malnutrition, and weight loss, which makes eating a more balanced diet so important. You’ll want to know which foods and drinks your body can tolerate, and which ones aggravate symptoms, so tracking them is key. Work with your doctor or registered dietitian to find a meal plan that works for you.
Having open and honest relationships with those around you creates understanding. Knowing that there’s people close to you who understand your disease and your needs could make you feel supported.
When you have an intimate partner, it can be helpful to have open communication with them about your disease and how it may limit your daily function and activities. Also, speaking with a psychologist or counselor can help to cope with intimacy challenges and emotions.
Planning a family
If you’re planning a family or interested in becoming pregnant, it’s important to talk to your doctor about it, especially about how certain medications could affect you. That way, you and your doctor can be on the same page as you work to keep your disease under control and achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Create a support system
When daily stuff like meeting work demands, buying groceries, or even picking up the kids from school is impacted by IBD, that’s where support can make a difference. Look to friends, family, or co-workers who can help you in different areas of your life when you need it most.
There are also great support groups filled with people who can share similar experiences with Crohn’s and provide support through understanding.
Of course, even with these healthy lifestyle practices and your current medications, you still may experience Crohn’s disease symptoms. It’s always best to keep your doctor up to date on the symptoms that you’re experiencing and ask about treatment options that may be right for you.
When symptoms show up,
it’s time to talk to your doctor
If you’re currently experiencing symptoms, that’s a sign to talk to your gastroenterologist—your treatment plan may need to be adjusted.
In the meantime, if symptoms aren’t serious, they don’t have to put a stop to getting out of the house and enjoying the things that matter to you. Whatever the occasion may be, when symptoms show up, it’s possible that you can too. It just takes some planning.
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