Day 1: Just diagnosed with Crohn’s disease

November 11, 2021

For a long time, it was thought that Blacks didn’t have Crohn’s disease as often as other ethnicities. However, recent studies show that this is not the case. Unfortunately, Black people were being misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Since that’s changing, more people are discovering that they can have this form of inflammatory bowel disease and live well. Once you know what you’re dealing with, there are a few key changes you’ll need to make to your life to handle Crohn’s disease well.

1. There are different types of Crohn’s disease

Many times people think Crohn’s disease only presents in one way. There are actually five different kinds of the disease that are categorized by the area in the bowel that’s affected, which also influences your symptoms. Ileocolitis affects the large and small intestines, while ileitis only deals with the small intestine. Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease affects the stomach and the top of the small intestine. Jejunoileitis is when the disease causes spots of inflammation in the top portion of the small intestine whereas Crohn’s colitis affects the colon.

2. Your symptoms can vary

As a follow-up to the first point, your symptoms are not set in stone with Crohn’s disease. Apart from changing depending on the type of this illness you’re dealing with, you may go through periods of remission and flare-ups. A few of the symptoms you can expect include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps after eating.

3. Your doctor may try different types of medication

When treating your Crohn’s disease, your doctor will be interested in relieving your symptoms and controlling the inflammation. Your medical options can start with simple anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids based on the severity of your symptoms. For significant forms of the disease, biologics and immunomodulators may be used for more targeted therapies.

4. You should expect flareups

Even if you’re undergoing treatment, many people with Crohn’s disease experience flare-ups from time to time. That’s because flares can be triggered by different things such as diet changes, new medications, and stressful situations. During these flare-ups, you may experience stomach pain, fatigue, joint pain, and sudden bowel movements. If this happens, let your doctor know so you can avoid the trigger in the future.

5. Your diet will be important

As you might expect, a disease that causes inflammation in the stomach will affect what you’ll be able to eat. When you’re living with Crohn’s, doctors suggest avoiding alcohol, bulky grains, dairy products, spicy foods, and fried foods. It’s best to stay hydrated, eat mild foods, choose cooked vegetables over raw ones, and focus on having smaller meals.

6. Surgery might be in the future In some cases, medications aren’t enough to keep

Crohn’s disease under control so doctors opt to remove a part of the inflamed bowel. That doesn’t mean your illness is cured though. The inflammation usually moves on to the next part of the bowel. Surgery may also be necessary if you have complications from Crohn’s. It would be used to repair damage or remove a blockage.

7. Some drugs will be off-limits

While aiming to protect your stomach, your doctor will advise you to avoid medications that might trigger inflammation. One of those is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). If you used to take NSAIDs, talk to your doctor about alternatives.

8. You should watch out for complications

Apart from the symptoms that come from Crohn’s, the constant inflammation can cause complications that will affect your overall health. These complications include ulcers, fissures, arthritis, colon cancer, skin disease, and liver damage. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor what symptoms to look out for and let them know as soon as you see anything that’s a cause for concern.

Depending on the type of Crohn’s disease you have, it can be really disruptive. If you work with your doctor though and make some changes to your lifestyle, the disease is completely manageable. With the right treatment, you may even be able to keep your Crohn’s disease in remission.

Read More About: