You’ve had stomachcramps for weeks, you’re exhausted and losing weight, and you keep having to run to the bathroom. What’s going on?
It could be an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). But which one?
There are two: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They have a lot in common, including long-term inflammation in your digestive system. But they also have some key differences that affect treatment.
By the way, if you hear some people just say “colitis,” that’s not the same thing. It means inflammation...
Calcium. Steroids for Crohn's disease can weaken bones and make it hard to absorb this key mineral. If your body can't digest milk or milk products, you're even more likely to be short on calcium. Up to half of people with Crohn's have thinning bones. Taking extra supplements -- often 1,500 milligrams of calcium a day -- will help keep bones strong and prevent other problems.
Vitamin D. It helps your body absorb calcium for strong bones, but people with Crohn's disease often don’t have enough. Your doctor may suggest an 800-IU daily supplement.
Vitamins A, E, and K. Surgery can make it hard for your body to absorb fats. That lowers your levels of these vitamins.
Iron. It's the best treatment for anemia from blood loss in your intestines. Your doctor may tell you to take iron tablets, liquid, or infusions.
Potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Your doctor may suggest a daily supplement to raise your levels.