Tests to Monitor Crohn's Disease
Barium X-rays (seen here), standard X-rays, CT, MRI, and other tools may be used by your doctor to check on your disease. These tests can show colon inflammation. They can also alert your doctor to potential problems, such as strictures (narrowing of the intestines) and fistulas (abnormal cracks in your intestinal wall).
Stay Active to Fight Crohn's
Exercise can help your Crohn's symptoms. It also gives you stronger bones and muscles, and a more powerful immune system. And physical activity is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after you exercise to prevent dehydration.
Medications to Keep Crohn's in Check
Many of the same drugs used to treat flares are also used to manage Crohn's disease. Some options:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as sulfasalazine
- Immune-suppressing drugs, such as 6-mercaptopurine, azathioprine, or methotrexate
- Corticosteroids, which suppress immune responses and control inflammation
- Biologics, which block inflammation. These include Cimzia, Humira, Remicade, Stelara, and Tysabri.
Eat Well to Manage Nutrition Concerns
Make sure you keep a well-rounded diet to prevent nutritional deficiency. It's important to get enough vitamins and minerals. These include vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as folate.
Ask your doctor about getting the right nutrition plan for you.
Take Time to Ease Stress
Stress may worsen your Crohn's symptoms. If it does, progressive muscle relaxation techniques and meditation may help. Doing activities you enjoy, such as listening to music, also can soothe stress.
Stop Smoking to Relieve Symptoms
Smoking makes Crohn's disease worse. It also can aggravate conditions linked to Crohn's disease, such as bone loss and eye problems. Ask your doctor for advice about quitting.
Keep a Positive Outlook
It's easy to feel overwhelmed by a chronic disease like Crohn's. Find friends and family you can turn to for support. Make plans to do activities you enjoy. Being optimistic and enjoying life can make a difference. Talk to a counselor if you need more help.
Supplements to Help Crohn's
Crohn's disease often weakens the body's ability to absorb nutrients. Some people, especially children, may need to take liquid food replacement formulas. Your doctor may also recommend vitamin and mineral supplements, including extra calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, folic acid, and iron.