Educate Yourself About Crohn’s
When you have a serious health condition like Crohn’s disease, it’s important to learn all you can about it. Of course, your doctor should be your first resource for learning about the condition and treatment options. It may help to write down your questions to make sure you don’t leave any concerns unanswered. You can also ask a relative or friend to come with you to your appointments to make sure you remember everything your doctor has said.
As you learn more about your condition, you may hear about men and women who have had a hard time coping with their illness. Reading about these stories may make you feel hopeless. It’s very important to realize that no two people experience Crohn’s disease in the same way. Just because some people have a severe form of the disease doesn’t mean that you will. Instead, try to focus on learning what you can do to manage your condition.
Talk With Family and Friends
Not everyone is comfortable sharing the fact that they have a serious health condition. But doing so can ease the extra stress of trying to hide it. Explaining Crohn’s disease in a matter-of-fact way, that it can cause attacks of pain and diarrhea, can help those close to you understand why you often need to use the bathroom or don’t feel up to socializing. Letting family and friends know what you are going through also means that you can turn to them for support and reassurance. They can be there for you during disease flares when you need extra help with grocery shopping or child care, or need a ride to doctor’s appointments.
You may also want to consider talking with your supervisor at work and trusted co-workers about your condition. This will go a long way toward explaining extended absences at work or frequent bathroom breaks. You should also read up on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) so that you know your rights in the event that you need to take off work for an extended period of time.
Joining a support group can provide you with the kind of help you can only get from people who know what you are going through. Ask your doctor if there are support groups in your area. The CCFA has an online support group where you can get tips and advice from people who have been managing their condition for years.
Pay Attention to Your Body
While no one knows what exactly causes Crohn’s disease, there are certain factors that can make symptoms of pain, cramping, and diarrhea worse. As you begin treatment, take note of what kind of symptoms you have and when. Do you always have diarrhea after eating? Are symptoms usually more active at a specific time of day? By recognizing when you are more likely to have symptoms, you can plan your day around them.