When You're New to Crohn's Disease
Pay Attention to Your Body
As you begin treatment, take note of what kind of symptoms you have and when. Do you always have diarrhea after eating? Are your symptoms usually more active at a specific time of day? By recognizing when you're more likely to have symptoms, you can plan your day around them.
Also note which, if any, foods affect your bowel problems. Your diet doesn't cause Crohn's, but certain foods may make symptoms worse. For example, many people with Crohn’s find they need to avoid high-fiber foods such as 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 foods cause problems so that you can avoid them.
Ask your doctor about working with a registered dietitian (RD). An RD can review your food diary to determine whether you're eating a balanced diet. They can also help you plan meals so you get all the nutrients you need and enjoy food that tastes great.
Notice how stress affects your symptoms, too. For many people, stress triggers flares. Exercise is a great way to burn off stress. Make relaxation a daily habit as well.Try breathing exercises, tai chi, yoga, or meditation.
Do you hesitate to leave home because of Crohn's symptoms like diarrhea, pain, and cramping? That’s understandable, especially as you learn how your condition affects you. But don’t let yourself get isolated. A little planning will help you get out and about, so you can do your daily routine as normally as possible.
Locate restrooms in public areas such as restaurants, shopping malls, highway rest areas, and anywhere you tend to go in your local area. This can help you keep a mental map of bathroom stops in mind when you're out and about.
Pack a travel kit that includes a spare set of underwear, toilet tissue, wipes, a couple of zip-top bags, and deodorizer. You may never need it, but just knowing it’s there can help give you peace of mind.
Ask a trusted friend to be on-call to come get you, should you find yourself in a tough situation.