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Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Crohn's Disease?

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You can get Crohn's disease in your mouth.

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You can get Crohn's disease in your mouth.

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Crohn's usually happens in the lower end of your small intestine and the beginning of your large intestine, or colon. But it can develop anywhere in your digestive system, including the esophagus, stomach, and even the mouth. This makes it different from ulcerative colitis, which affects the colon and not other parts of the GI tract.

 

Your symptoms depend on where Crohn's is in your digestive tract. Crohn's can also affect other parts of your body, such as skin, eyes, joints, and liver.

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If your Crohn's flares, it's because you ate too much fiber.

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If your Crohn's flares, it's because you ate too much fiber.

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There isn't a single type of food that worsens Crohn's symptoms in everyone. Crohn's disease can flare up for no obvious reason. But many people find that certain foods make their symptoms worse and lead to flares.

 

Other triggers include stress, certain medications, smoking, and skipping Crohn’s medications or taking the wrong dose.

If you have good control of your Crohn's disease, it won't flare up.

If you have good control of your Crohn's disease, it won't flare up.

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Treatment helps you have fewer Crohn's flares. But they can still happen.

 

Even with good control, Crohn's disease is unpredictable. Symptoms may range from mild to severe. They can develop slowly or happen without warning. You can go through years when symptoms ease up or disappear, and then have a flare. Let your doctor know how you're doing so you can work together to have a full and active life.

Probiotics are proven to ease Crohn's.

Probiotics are proven to ease Crohn's.

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Probiotics are "good" bacteria or yeast that live in your gut. You can get them in supplements or food. Although some studies show they may help keep symptoms away in some people, more research is needed to show a clear benefit.

 

Probiotics can have side effects such as mild bloating or gas. Tell your doctor if you take any supplements, vitamins, or other "alternative" or "complementary" treatments, even if they claim to be "natural," because they may affect your medication.

If you have Crohn's, you may be short on vitamin B-12.

If you have Crohn's, you may be short on vitamin B-12.

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Crohn's can make it harder for your body to absorb certain vitamins and minerals, depending on where your Crohn's is located. If it affects the lower end of your small intestine, you may not absorb enough B-12 from your diet.

 

 Because of Crohn's, you may also not have enough folic acid, iron, and vitamins C and D. Ask your doctor if you need vitamins or other supplements.

When you're having a Crohn's flare, it's probably a good idea to avoid ginger ale.

When you're having a Crohn's flare, it's probably a good idea to avoid ginger ale.

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During a flare, it's best to avoid all carbonated drinks, which often cause gas. You should also avoid other gassy foods, such as  beans, cabbage, and broccoli. 

 

Cut back on caffeine, too, to curb gas when flaring. Skip greasy and fried foods, which can cause gas or diarrhea. 

 

High-fiber foods such as raw vegetables or fruits may be a problem during a flare, so cook them well.  Smaller meals can also ease symptoms.

You only get Crohn's disease if it runs in your family.

You only get Crohn's disease if it runs in your family.

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You're more likely to get Crohn's if you have a parent, brother, or sister with it. But it's not just about the genes you got from your family. Your immune system may be overreacting, causing the inflammation found in Crohn's disease. Other factors may also be involved. For instance, it's more common among smokers than nonsmokers. Doctors don't know the exact reason why one person gets Crohn's and another doesn't. 

What can treatment do for your Crohn's?

What can treatment do for your Crohn's?

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Since there is no cure for Crohn's disease, the goal of treatment is to reduce the inflammation that triggers your symptoms. This allows affected tissues to heal and eases symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.  

 

Treatment also cuts down on Crohn's flares. It may include medications, surgery, and nutritional supplements.

Too much stress can make you get Crohn's disease.

Too much stress can make you get Crohn's disease.

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Stress doesn't cause Crohn's. But it can make your symptoms worse. Living with Crohn's can also be stressful. You can take steps to curb stress. Make it a habit to relax. Try deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, and meditation. Spend time with people you love and doing things you enjoy. A support group and a counselor can also help you handle your day-to-day life with Crohn's.

Out-of-control Crohn's makes complications more likely.

Out-of-control Crohn's makes complications more likely.

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To cut down on the inflammation that can damage your digestive system, you need to keep up with your treatment plan. It lowers your chances of getting scars in your intestines or other complications. You're also less likely to need surgery or hospital care in the future if your Crohn's is under control.

Which is the most common complication of Crohn's disease?

Which is the most common complication of Crohn's disease?

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The most common complication of Crohn's disease is intestinal obstruction, which means the intestine becomes blocked. This happens when swelling and scar tissue thicken the intestine wall. 

 

Arthritis, eye or mouth inflammation, and kidney stones or gallstones are less common complications.

You're more likely to need surgery for Crohn's if you smoke.

You're more likely to need surgery for Crohn's if you smoke.

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If you smoke cigarettes, it will make your Crohn's symptoms worse, and it makes you more likely to need surgery. People who smoke tend to have more flares, more complications, and need higher doses of steroids and other medications. Quit to lower your risk of flares and complications. Many people try to kick the habit several times before they succeed. It's worth it, so keep trying! You don't have to do it on your own. Ask your doctor to recommend a quit-smoking program or a specialist to help you make this change.

Taking medication is the only way to reduce your Crohn's flares.

Taking medication is the only way to reduce your Crohn's flares.

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You do need to take your medicine as your doctor prescribed. But that's not the only thing that matters.

 

Exercise, stress management, and a good diet are also key. Ask your doctor or a dietitian about foods to avoid and how to get enough nutrients. Exercise is a great way to burn off stress. Weight-bearing exercise (such as strength-training) is also good for your bones, which helps prevent bone thinning, a Crohn's complication.

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Great job! Understanding your Crohn's can help you manage it better.

Not bad, but knowing more about your Crohn's can help you manage it better. Read up and try again.

Understanding Crohn's can help you manage it better. Read up and try again.