Last Updated on June 16, 2023
Crohn’s Disease Self-Care Measures: Do’s and Dont’s
Self-care is a behavioral practice of intentional actions to preserve, improve and nurture one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Adopting healthy practices to promote self-renewal and overall well-being is the first step to initiating a wellness journey. Both physical and mental disorders risk overall well-being, bringing forth the need to address issues caused by them. A growing interest in medicine underscores the interlink between the gut and the mind. The intricate network between gut neurons and the brain identifies the detrimental impact of Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease, on the overall-wellbeing. Therefore, as a Crohn’s disease self-care measure, participate in clinical trials to step up one’s wellness journey, One clinical trial, At a Time. Revive Research Institute is a leading clinical research organization in the United States, committed to advancing treatments for both physical and mental disorders.
Continue reading the blog to learn about Crohn’s disease self-care practices, a first step to empowering your wellness journey.
Living with Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disorder that may affect any part of the digestive system, most commonly the small intestine. Besides ulcerative colitis, it is one of the two primary forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Approximately 500,000 Americans are affected by Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition that persists throughout life. Crohn’s disease can be painful and debilitating and may lead to life-threatening complications if left untreated. It typically alternates between periods of remission, characterized by relatively stable symptoms or unsymptomatic flare-ups that can prevail for days, weeks, or even months.
In the active state of the disease, the most commonly presented symptoms are:
- Abdominal pain (lower right side) and cramping, after mealtime
- Bloody stool (Hematochezia)
- Mouth sores
- Reduced appetite hence, weight loss
- Pain or drainage from a tunnel into the skin (fistula)
However, a flare-up is inevitable for individuals with Crohn’s disease at some point. Recognizing the symptoms and effective management strategies, including Crohn’s disease self-care might help reduce the likelihood of a flare-up and anxiety that comes along with it.
Also read: Other conditions linked to Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s Disease, Stress, and Anxiety: A Vicious Cycle
Anxiety and Crohn’s disease are medical conditions with distinct risk factors. Certain factors increase the likelihood of both anxiety and Crohn’s disease. These risk factors include:
Older age groups:
Individuals over the age of 40.
Stress and anxiety are closely linked to Crohn’s disease symptoms. Flare-ups of the condition can be triggered or exacerbated by stress.
Severe and active disease:
Active inflammation in conditions like ulcerative colitis, similar to Crohn’s disease, has also been associated with psychological stress.
Surgery and Stoma:
Severe cases of Crohn’s disease may require surgery, such as creating a permanent stoma. This significant change in the body can lead to isolation, therefore, anxiety and affect the quality of life.
Low Socioeconomic Status:
Patients with lower incomes undergo increased anxiety compared to wealthier patients.
It’s important to note that while these risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing anxiety or experiencing anxiety symptoms in individuals with Crohn’s disease, they do not guarantee the presence of either condition.
Crohn’s Disease Self-Care
Self-care is essential to manage Crohn’s symptoms, empowering the wellness journey. Here are some commonly devised self-care measures for individuals with Crohn’s disease:
- Eat a balanced diet
- Stay hydrated
- Manage anxiety and stress
- Get regular exercise
- Get enough sleep
- Seek therapy
- Take medications as directed
Although there is no proven treatment for Crohn’s, conventional medications, Crohn’s disease self-care measures can significantly lessen signs and symptoms and even result in long-term remission and inflammatory healing.
A Dietary Guide to Manage Crohn’s
Every individual with Crohn’s disease may have different triggers and dietary needs. Therefore, it is crucial to have an eye out for what worsens the symptoms. Tracking a symptom diary enables comprehension of what works best for you. A diet devoid of grains can help reduce inflammation.
Certain meals have a reputation for bringing on Crohn’s symptoms. Typical trigger meals include:
- Fruits with the skin
- Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables
- Avoid Lactose and Dairy products
- Sugar alcohols, found in sweets and sugar-free gum
- Foods rich in fats and spice
- Alcoholic and caffeinated drinks
- Avoid red and processed meats
Foods To Eat: Crohn’s Disease Self-Care Guide
Put simply, diet has a direct impact on how you feel in general. A well-balanced diet is a crucial component of Crohn’s disease self-care. A robust immune system and the regeneration of damaged cells can both be replenished by a balanced diet. Additionally, a healthy diet restores the extra energy our bodies require to combat sickness or stressful situations. Food guidelines to decrease flare-ups are:
- Eat Fruits: bananas, raspberries, applesauce, blended fruit
- Eat Vegetables: squashes, fork-tender cooked carrots, green beans
- Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids: fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.), walnut butter, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, flaxseed meal
- Eat small, frequent meals instead of large meals
- Eat lean proteins (chicken, fish, tofu)
- Increase fiber intake (incorporate soluble fibers found in oats, bananas, and husk to regulate bowel movements and promote gut health)
- Eat baked food instead of fried food
- Eat foods easier to digest (cut into small pieces or blend them into smoothies)
Also read: Crohn’s Disease and Life Expectancy
Self-care is essential for avoiding Crohn’s flare-ups, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the digestive tract. While there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, Crohn’s disease self-care can help individuals with the condition maintain their overall well-being and manage symptoms more effectively. Self-care practices may vary for each individual, and it’s essential to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized approach that best suits your needs and circumstances.