If You Have Crohn’s, Don’t Do This
Having Crohn’s Disease is not easy. It requires daily management to minimize the negative impacts of the condition, and every Crohn’s sufferer is a little different – different foods and activities can trigger symptoms in some patients and have virtually no impact on others.
“Crohn’s disease may flare up for no apparent reason,” says Crozer-Keystone gastroenterologist Joyann Kroser, M.D.
While everyone is different, there are some activities that should definitely be considered off limits for people with Crohn’s:
- Don’t eat whatever you want. If you’ve had Crohn’s for a while, you know this. But it bears repeating: A smart diet is the lynchpin of your daily battle with Crohn’s. Avoid fatty foods, fried foods, fibrous foods and milk. Steer clear of processed foods that can contain added sugar, fat substitutes and artificial flavorings that can be gastrointestinal irritants. “The best diet for IBD in between flares is a healthy nutritious balanced diet that includes grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, lean meats and healthy fats, and avoids junk foods,” Kroser says. Additiionally, big meals are a no-no; Crohn’s sufferers are much better off eating five to six smaller meals to minimize the problems of overtaxing the digestive system.
- Don't ignore people trying to help. Talking about Crohn’s can be embarrassing, and you don’t need to talk about it to everyone. But some close friends and family members will want to help. Don’t be bashful about accepting their support and advice.
- Don’t put your head in the sand. The more you know, the better armed you are to battle this condition. There are plenty of good resources with diet tips, health advice and other information that can help you feel better. Dr. Kroser recommends the website for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
- Don’t smoke. Along with plenty of other negative effects, cigarette smoking harms the digestive tract, as inhaled smoke enters the stomach and intestines. Tobacco is a known digestive tract irritant that can cause bloating, cramping and other issues.
- Don’t ignore stress. Stress does not cause Crohn’s but it can exacerbate it. Acknowledge the stress in your life and find a healthy outlet for it, whether it’s talking to a confidant or hitting the gym, so that stress doesn’t fester.
- Don’t skimp on sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep every night; less can impact your digestive system and cause a flare up. Make sure you get the right quantity of quality sleep.
- Don’t drink alcohol. Simply put, beer, wine, and mixed drinks can beat up your gastrointestinal tract.
Crozer-Keystone offers a range of board-certified physicians who are trained in the latest technologies and procedures to comprehensively diagnose, manage and treat gastrointestinal and liver conditions. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://gi.crozerkeystone.org or call 1-877-CKHS-GI1 (254-7441).