Top Lifestyle Tips for Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s Disease is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) which causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Medication is typically the first route when it comes to managing the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, but there are certain lifestyle changes that can also help to decrease the chance of a flare-up, ease symptoms, and aid in the effectiveness of the medication. While your doctor can help you formulate an individual plan to help manage your symptoms, we’ve taken some time to list out some of the top lifestyle tips for Crohn’s disease.
For those with Crohn’s disease, staying hydrated should be prioritized on a daily basis. Inflammation in the digestive tract can make it difficult to absorb water, and if you’re experiencing diarrhea as a result of your Crohn’s disease, you could be at risk of becoming dehydrated. In addition, some sugar beverages have the potential to be irritating, and caffeine can make diarrhea worse. The best way to stay healthy and hydrated is to drink water.
Regular exercise is key to a healthy life, but it’s also one of the top lifestyle tips for those with Crohn’s disease. Staying active increases energy, promotes circulation, and strengthens the immune system. When it comes to Crohn’s disease, exercise benefits the function of the digestive tract as well as improves other symptoms such as anxiety and depression.
It’s always important to check with your gastroenterologist to ensure that alcohol will not interfere with your medications, but even if it doesn’t directly impact the effectiveness of your prescriptions, it’s still best to avoid alcohol altogether. Alcohol can increase inflammation and may also exacerbate Crohn’s disease symptoms.
While some risk factors of Crohn’s disease, like ethnicity and family history, are out of your control, smoking is the most controllable risk factor. Not only are smokers at a higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease in the first place, but smoking can also worsen symptoms and increase the chances of needing surgery.
Monitor Your Diet
Talking with your doctor about your individual triggers can help you better understand which foods coincide with your flare-ups, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to avoid dairy, caffeine, and spicy foods. Another eating habit that may prompt flare-ups is the consumption of overly fatty foods, especially when the small intestines are experiencing inflammation.
Stress is another factor that can worsen Crohn’s disease symptoms and trigger flare-ups. While the other tips on this list like diet and exercise can help manage stress, other techniques include yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. If you need help determining ways to help manage your stress, reach out to Birmingham Gastroenterology Associates today.
Consult a Gastroenterologist
If you are struggling with the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, you should seek medical attention from a GI specialist for evaluation and treatment. The team at Birmingham Gastroenterology has decades of experience treating diseases and disorders in all parts of the digestive system. This includes diagnosing and helping patients manage IBS. To make an appointment to discuss your symptoms and the best lifestyle for living with Crohn’s disease, call us at (205) 271-8000.