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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center

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When You're New to Crohn's Disease

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, you might want to talk to your supervisor and trusted co-workers about your condition. This will help explain missed days or frequent bathroom breaks. Read up on the Family and Medical Leave Act, so you know your rights in case you need to take off work for a while. Also look into the Americans With Disabilities Act, which protects you from job discrimination and can help you get your employer to provide the things you need to get your job done.

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 has an online support group where you can get tips and advice from people who've been managing their condition for years.

Pay Attention to Your Body

As you begin treatment, note what kind of symptoms you have and when. Do you always have diarrhea after eating? Are your symptoms more active at a certain time of day? If you know when you're more likely to have symptoms, you can plan your day around them.

Take note of any foods that affect your bowel problems. Your diet doesn't cause Crohn's, but some dishes may make symptoms worse. For example, many people with Crohn’s need to avoid high-fiber foods like seeds, nuts, popcorn, corn, and raw fruits and vegetables, as well as spicy, fried, and greasy foods. Keep a food-and-symptom diary to help you track what causes problems so that you can avoid it.

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