It’s no secret that many people feel stress from time to time. While there’s no proof that stress itself causes Crohn’s disease, stress can be a factor in symptom flare-ups. Here are a few ways that can help you manage your stress levels:
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Having a strong support system is the number one thing you can give yourself because if you isolate yourself, I mean, you’re going to be isolated.
In your everyday life, you may have to deal with some aspect of your condition—whether you’re experiencing Crohn’s symptoms or not. But just because Crohn’s is chronic doesn’t mean it has to take over your life. There are ways to help you be your own best advocate and get info to family, friends, coworkers—whomever you think wants or needs to understand the disease in your life.
So, if the moment ever comes up when someone asks about your Crohn’s, and you’re open to sharing info with others when necessary, here are a few ways to help you be prepared:
The possibility of a Crohn’s flare may keep some people from enjoying an active social life. But there are a few ways to plan ahead that may help you feel more comfortable going out.
Alcohol, smoking, and drugs affect each person with Crohn's differently. But they may pose health risks to your gastrointestinal (GI) tract and affect your medications. Remember to ask your doctor for more information.
You may have questions about navigating relationships with Crohn’s. You may already know that being honest with your friends and partner is important—and so is your comfort level when talking about your Crohn’s. Learning to talk about it can help make you feel more understood by others—and help others find better ways to support you when you need it.
Doing some research and planning ahead of time can help make trips go more smoothly. Here are a few tips:
Talk to your healthcare team about your travel plans. They may be able to offer advice and information about any necessary precautions or immunizations.
Take along your healthcare team’s contact information and copies of insurance cards.
Remember to bring enough medication—preferably in its original packaging. And make sure the sizes of liquids can go through security.
If you have an ostomy bag, make sure you tell TSA personnel before you go through security. Check out the TSA’s page for people with medical conditions.
Research where you’re going so you know what to expect. Aside from places to stay and where to eat, you might want to find out about nearby restrooms, when pharmacies are open, and if water is safe to drink.
Your diet when you travel should be as close as possible to your diet at home. Bring along dry, packable foods and follow the same precautions when eating out as you would when not traveling.
Use helpful resources that are available—like a Restroom Request Card, which can let you discreetly communicate your condition and gain access to restricted bathrooms—to be prepared in case you have sudden symptoms away from home.
While men and women may be equally affected by Crohn’s disease and share many of the same symptoms, there are some differences that may occur.
Extraintestinal manifestations: Crohn’s-related symptoms outside of the intestines happen more often in women than men
Conception: Generally, women with Crohn’s disease in remission can become pregnant as easily as other women the same age—however, women with active disease may have more difficulty becoming pregnant (conceiving during a disease flare is not advised)—always talk to your doctor if you plan on becoming pregnant
Pregnancy: Women with Crohn’s usually have healthy pregnancies and infants. However, they’re more likely to have a complication of pregnancy than women without inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—even if their disease is in remission. If you’re pregnant, it’s important to keep your healthcare team on the same page
Relatives affected: Female patients were found to have first- or second-degree relatives with Crohn’s disease more often than male patients
Have a discreet way to ask for access to restricted restrooms if you have symptoms. And get updates, resources, and more sent to your inbox.
*Eligibility restricted to patients diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
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