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If You Smoke, Stop

You already know that smoking is bad for you. Did you know that it worsens Crohn's disease and makes it harder to control?

The more you smoke, the more likely you are to get flares. If you quit smoking, though, you have the same chances of getting a flare as nonsmoker with Crohn's.

Have you tried to quit smoking before, only to light up again? Hang in there. It often takes several tries to kick the habit for good. Tell your doctor that you're working on it and ask for their advice.

Avoid 'NSAID' Pain Drugs

NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They include ibuprofen and naproxen.

NSAIDs can trigger flares or cause symptoms like those of Crohn's. Talk with your doctor about other choices for muscle aches and pains, such as acetaminophen.

Let Your Doctor Know How You're Doing

Tell your doctor about any symptoms you have. They could be side effects of a drug or a sign of a medical problem caused by Crohn's. Your doctor may want to do tests or adjust your treatment so you can feel better.

Take Care of Stress

Everyone has stress. On top of that, you have the stress that comes with Crohn's disease.

Stress does not cause Crohn's, but it can make you feel worse. Get regular exercise and do things that help you relax, like yoga and meditation. You handle problems better when you're rested, so make sleep a priority.

People who are both depressed and anxious are more likely to have flares, research shows. If you're feeling down or upset about Crohn's (or anything else), let your family and friends know how they can support you. Don't hesitate to get help from your doctor or from a counselor who is an expert in helping people with Crohn's or other long-term conditions.

You may also want to join a support group. You get a chance to talk to other people who know what you're going through because they've been there, too.