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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center

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When You're New to Crohn's Disease

Educate Yourself About Crohn’s

Knowledge is power. When you have a serious health condition like Crohn’s disease, it’s important to learn all you can about it. 

Your doctor should be your first resource for learning about the condition and treatment options. It helps to write down your questions before your visit and bring them with you, so you can easily ask all of them. You can also ask a relative or friend to come with you to your appointments to make sure you remember everything your doctor said.

Talk With Family and Friends

Explain your Crohn's disease to those close to you in a matter-of-fact way. Let them know it can cause attacks of pain and diarrhea. This will help them understand why you often need to use the bathroom or may not feel up to socializing, for example. 

When people know what you're going through, 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 a doctor’s appointment. 

People may not know what they can do to support you. So have some ideas ready, if they ask. 

If you work outside the home, consider talking with your supervisor and trusted co-workers about your condition. This will go a long way toward explaining absences at work or frequent bathroom breaks. You should read up on the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), so you know your rights in case you need to take off work for an extended period of time. Also look into the Americans With Disabilities Act, which protects patients from job discrimination and can help you get reasonable accommodations from your employer.

You may also want to join a support group, where you can talk with other people who have Crohn's. To find one, ask your doctor. The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) has an online support group where you can get tips and advice from people who've been managing their condition for years.

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