Slideshow: Managing Your Crohn's Disease
Crohns Disease and Biologics TOC
Tests to Monitor Crohn's Disease
Barium X-rays (seen here), standard X-rays, CT, MRI, and other tools may be used by your doctor to check on your disease. These tests can show colon inflammation. They can also alert your doctor to potential problems, such as strictures (narrowing of the intestines) and fistulas (abnormal cracks in your intestinal wall).
Stay Active to Fight Crohn's
Exercise can help decrease your Crohn's symptoms. In general, it also gives you stronger bones, muscles, and a more powerful immune system. Physical activity is also a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after you exercise to avoid dehydration.
Medications to Keep Crohn's in Check
Many of the same drugs used to treat flares are also used to manage Crohn's disease. Some options:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as sulfasalazine
- Immune-suppressing drugs, such as 6-mercaptopurine, azathioprine, or methotrexate
- Corticosteroids, which suppress immune responses and control inflammation
- Biologics, which block inflammation. These include Remicade, Humira, Cimzia, and Tysabri.
Eat Well to Manage Medication Side Effects
Worried about Crohn's medication side effects? Eating a healthy low-calorie diet will help minimize weight gain from corticosteroid drugs. And nutritional supplements such as calcium and vitamin D can help prevent bone loss from corticosteroids. Ask your doctor about what may be right for you.
Take Time to Ease Stress
Stress may worsen your Crohn's symptoms. If it does, progressive muscle relaxation techniques and meditation may help. Doing activities you enjoy, such as listening to music, can also soothe stress.
Stop Smoking to Relieve Symptoms
Smoking makes Crohn's disease worse. It also can aggravate conditions linked to Crohn's disease, like bone loss and eye problems. Quitting is never easy. But millions of ex-smokers are proof it can be done.
Keep a Positive Outlook
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by a chronic disease like Crohn's. Find friends and family you can turn to for support. Make plans to do activities you enjoy. Being optimistic and enjoying life can make a difference. Try looking to a counselor if you need additional help.
Supplements to Help Crohn's
Crohn's disease often weakens the body's ability to absorb nutrients. Some people, especially children, may need to take liquid food replacement formulas. Your doctor may also recommend vitamin and mineral supplements, including extra calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and iron.