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Crohn's Disease: 54 Tips to Help You Manage

With the right treatment, you can manage your Crohn's disease symptoms. These simple tips can help.
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WebMD Feature

Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease affecting 500,000 Americans, can overwhelm your daily life. Day-to-day living is especially difficult if you suffer chronic symptoms like frequent diarrhea, gastrointestinal bleeding, anal tears, or bowel obstructions.

Fortunately, treatments for Crohn's disease can make a big difference. Effective treatments range from lifestyle changes to medications, or even surgery in severe cases. The right treatments can reduce symptoms, lengthen remissions, and help you enjoy a happy, productive life.

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To get a handle on your Crohn's disease, read these basic facts and tips on nutrition, lifestyle, travel, and treatment.

Fast Facts About Crohn's Disease

  • Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract -- usually the small intestine and/or colon.
  • No one knows what causes Crohn's, but some think it's affected by genetics, the immune system, and environmental issues.
  • There are four types of Crohn's; your doctor will diagnose which you have based on the location and severity of the disease.
  • New research shows that certain genes can lead to an increased risk of Crohn's disease.
  • Remission of Crohn's can last from months to years. Treatment is usually the cause of remissions.
  • There's no evidence that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) eventually leads to Crohn's disease.

Crohn's Disease Symptom Tips

  • Fever and night sweats can be Crohn's symptoms. Talk with your doctor to be sure.
  • Common symptoms of Crohn's disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss.
  • Don't feel much like eating? Poor appetite can be a Crohn's disease symptom. Talk with your doctor.
  • Symptoms of Crohn's disease can come and go. Some people have mild or no symptoms.
  • Get a balanced amount of proteins, calories, and nutrients to help manage Crohn's disease symptoms.
  • Experiencing cramps or diarrhea? Anti-diarrheal agents and anti-spasmotics can offer relief.

Treatment Tips for Crohn's Disease

  • Your Crohn's disease treatment choices depend on the location and severity of your disease.
  • When Crohn's disease goes into remission, it's usually due to treatment with medication or surgery.
  • Treatment for Crohn's disease includes anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, and/or surgery.
  • Know what's in your medicine cabinet: Aspirin can worsen the inflammation caused by Crohn's disease.
  • Some antibiotics can reduce Crohn's inflammation, though no one yet knows how.
  • Corticosteroids, a treatment for Crohn's, can raise your osteoporosis risks. Talk to your doctor about prevention.

Lifestyle Tips: Living Better When You Have Crohn's

  • Appetite a little low? Try eating small, frequent meals, instead of a few big ones.
  • When you enjoy a great restaurant meal without irritation or side effects, jot down which items you ordered.
  • Manage symptoms of Crohn's disease: enjoy a balanced diet and proper portion control.
  • Smoking can make Crohn's disease symptoms worse. Now is a good time to quit!
  • Feeling fatigued? Enjoy regular exercise, a healthy diet, and enough sleep. And talk to your doctor.
  • Taking antibiotics for Crohn's disease symptoms? Avoid alcohol, which can worsen some side effects.

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