Chances are your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is under good control thanks to effective medicine. But even if you're in remission from Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, you may fear having sudden cramps or worse when you're out and about. The good news: You don't have to give up your social life.
People who've been there share their advice:
Learn all you can about your disease: what causes it, your triggers, and which treatments work best. Keep up with news about Crohn's and its treatments. Go to your doctor visits prepared with questions. Know how to spot the warning signs of a flare and what helps prevent it.
Stick With Your Crohn's Drugs
Even if your symptoms are gone and you feel great, don't stop taking your prescribed drugs unless your doctor tells you to.
People who don't stick to their drug plan are more likely to get flares. Over time, that can cause medical problems. Repeated flares can lead to complications such as strictures (a narrowing of your intestines) or fistulas, which are abnormal connections between the intestines and the skin or other organs.
If a drug causes side effects that bother you, don't stop taking it. Talk to your doctor first. You might need to take a lower dose, switch to another drug, or get treated for the side effects.
When you have Crohn's flares, it can be hard for you to absorb nutrients from the small intestine. So during the times you don't have symptoms, it's especially important to eat a healthy diet.
Keep a food diary to find out if some foods make your symptoms worse. For some people with Crohn's, high-fat foods or fiber-rich fruits and vegetables (like beans and broccoli) cause problems. Let your doctor know about any foods that seem to trigger your symptoms.
Your doctor and a diet expert can help you plan meals so you get foods from all the food groups. You might also need to take supplements of vitamins B12 and D, iron, or calcium, or a multivitamin.