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About Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s Disease Management: How to Calm Down an Angry Stomach

Crohn’s Disease Management: How to Calm Down an Angry Stomach

Treating or managing Crohn’s disease doesn’t involve a one-size-fits-all approach. You likely need to try out different solutions to find what works best for you. Always speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter drugs or beginning a new exercise program.

Take an anti-diarrheal medication

Diarrhea can be one of the most inconvenient symptoms to deal with as you try to live a normal life with Crohn’s disease. And it can also lead to further health consequences if not treated.

Several over-the-counter medications can help ease symptoms of diarrhea, gas, or bloating:

  • loperamide (Imodium A-D)
  • bismuth-subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
  • psyllium (Metamucil)
  • methylcellulose (Citrucel)

Before you take an over-the-counter medication to calm down your stomach, check in with your doctor. Your symptoms may suggest a worsening of your inflammation. Your doctor may want to make a change to your prescription medication.

Ask your doctor about pain relievers

Your doctor may recommend taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) if your stomach pain comes along with joint pain.

Don’t take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for stomach pain. This includes ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). While NSAIDs might help relieve some joint pain, they can irritate your gastrointestinal tract, worsening your symptoms.

Avoid certain foods

You may have to give up some of your favorite foods in order to stay healthy. Certain foods and beverages can worsen your symptoms. While there’s no concrete evidence that a particular food is responsible for the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease, you know your body best.

If you haven’t started one already, consider creating a food diary to keep track of which foods aggravate your symptoms. A few foods in particular you’ll want to pay attention to. If you find out that these types of food make your stomach angry, it’s probably best to avoid them altogether:

  • dairy products
  • fatty foods
  • high-fiber foods, such as beans, popcorn, nuts
  • raw fruits and vegetables (have them cooked instead)
  • spicy foods
  • alcohol
  • caffeine

Stick to bland foods

If you’re experiencing stomach pain, stick to bland foods, such as the following:

  • dry toast
  • rice
  • eggs
  • bananas
  • applesauce
  • boiled, skinless chicken

Eat small, frequent meals

Eat five or six small meals throughout the day rather than two or three large ones. This ensures that your body gets enough nutrients and calories for the day without putting unnecessary strain on your stomach.

Try an herbal remedy

Certain herbs may help calm your stomach. While there isn’t a lot of evidence for the efficacy of these herbs in treating Crohn’s disease, they have been used traditionally to lessen inflammation inside the digestive tract.

Herbs and herbal teas may have side effects, and some herbs interact with others. Speak with your doctor about taking herbs and supplements.

Ginger

The rhizome of the ginger plant is commonly used in cooking. But it’s also a dietary supplement to treat nausea and vomiting. Ginger is also believed to be an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory agentTrusted Source. It’s available in many forms, including fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, and powdered.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice related to ginger. A compound found in turmeric called curcumin is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in treating Crohn’s disease. Small clinical studies of people with Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory conditions have shown promising results, but additional studies are needed.

You can find fresh turmeric in your grocery store. It’s also available as a powder that you can add to your meals, or in capsule form.

Peppermint

Peppermint calms the muscles of your stomach and has shown evidence of soothing inflammatory pain in the gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint is easy to find in tea or capsule form.

Slippery elm

The bark of the slippery elm tree is a demulcent — a substance that protects inflamed tissues. When the bark is mixed with water, it turns into a sticky material known as mucilage. Mucilage coats and soothes your stomach and intestines. One study found that slippery elm had an antioxidant effect in people with Crohn’s disease.

To make tea from powdered slippery elm bark, pour 2 cups of boiling water over roughly 2 tablespoons of the powder and steep for a few minutes. Slippery elm is also available as a lozenge or in capsule form.

Marshmallow

Marshmallow (the herb, not the sticky sweet confection) has been studied for its ability to protect and soothe tissues in the stomach and reduce inflammation and stomach acids. To make a tea, steep 2 to 5 grams of dried leaf or 5 grams of dried root in 1 cup of hot water.

Boswellia

The acids produced by the Boswellia genus of trees are thought to have therapeutic capabilities. In a small studyTrusted Source in people with ulcerative colitis, 14 of 20 participants who received boswellia gum resin achieved remission of their disease. Another studyTrusted Source, conducted in 2001, found that boswellia was just as effective as mesalazine, a standard Crohn’s disease treatment, in treating 102 participants with Crohn’s disease.

Consider juicing

If solid foods aggravate your stomach, juicing is a great way to get the nutrients and calories your body needs without adding stress to the digestive process. You can combine herbal remedies, like ginger, with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Start with a simple recipe of just one apple, one carrot, and a small piece of ginger. Because the juicing process removes fiber, the nutrients can be easily absorbed.

Citri-Star Citrus Juicer click her to buy

A Balanced Belly has some tips and tricks for juicing as well as a range of healthy juice recipes for people with Crohn’s disease.

Find ways to reduce stress

Your stomach might be feeling angry because you’re under a lot of stress. Try the following techniques to help you relax and reduce your stress levels:

  • yoga
  • meditation
  • tai chi
  • deep breathing exercises

You can set aside a specific time each day to practice, or try these techniques simultaneously while you’re doing something else, like commuting to work.

Exercise is also a great way to lower your stress levels. Even low-intensity exercises, like walking for 30 minutes, can be helpful. However, make sure to ask your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Also remember to drink extra water before and during exercise to prevent dehydration.

See your doctor

Your relationship with your doctor is very important in managing Crohn’s disease. Your doctor will likely want to monitor your symptoms to make sure your treatment is working. It’s very important that you are open and honest with your doctor about your symptoms. If your stomach pain and diarrhea become severe, let your doctor know right away. You might need intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration.

About Crohn's Disease

Still Tired liveing with crohns

When my Crohn’s disease is active, my fatigue can be debilitating. Sometimes I’m forced to stop answering phone calls because I literally don’t have the energy to construct sentences. I don’t allow myself to drive because it doesn’t feel safe. I’m basically unable to do anything except the bare minimum, and when I come out on the other side I feel like I’ve been in the deepest fog.

How can I be so tired?

After experiencing fatigue like this on and off for quite a while, I began to wonder how I could possibly be SO tired. I was ‘sleeping’ ten to twelve hours a night and taking a nap during the day. What more could my body possibly want? I wasn’t working. I wasn’t moving much. In fact, I wasn’t using any more strength than necessary, and yet, it still felt like too much.

Anyone with IBD knows that when you’re sick, it often feels like more than just stool emptying from your bowels. It feels like life is emptying out too.

Fatigue and mental health

I found the fatigue contributed to my anxiety and depression, affecting my mental health too. It seemed like I was trapped in this awful cycle and all I could do is come up for air between episodes.

During that time, I took prescription sleep medication, I worked with a sleep doctor, and underwent multiple normal sleep studies. I even followed suggestions on reducing screen time, creating sleep hygiene and more, but no matter what, I felt exhausted all of the time.

Sleep versus rest

This was when I learned the difference between being asleep, and getting rest. Being in bed, tossing and turning, waking up during the night – they all impact our ability to achieve deep sleep cycles characterized by faster breathing, a faster pulse, and rapid eye movements, or REM. There were times that my body may have been unconscious, but it most certainly wasn’t at rest.

It became clear to me that I had to learn how to dedicate time to conscious rest when I was awake. To be honest, this felt awkward and like something I was embarrassed about. Have you ever sat down to do something like this?

Changes I made

There were three changes I made that over time have significantly impacted my levels of fatigue, and I’d really like to offer them as suggestions to anyone who is struggling.

  1. Scrolling through social media, even while laying in bed, doesn’t count as resting. When you brain is actively thinking about things you want, need, or are missing out on, it impacts your body’s ability to rest. Schedule in some breaks to put your phone down.
  2. Guided imagery and meditation are real things that relax your mind AND your body. I rely on the Calm app, but there are others out there as well which offer you these services right from your phone. Quieting your brain quiets your body in a real, lasting way.
  3. Aromatherapy – certain scents are tied to physical relaxation. Whether you purchase a linen spray, light a candle, burn incense or diffuse essential oils, or take a bath with bubbles or salts or bombs, aromatherapy draws upon the healing powers of the leaves, flowers, stems, bark, roots or petals of plants to stimulate the natural healing action of both your body and your mind.
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About Crohn's Disease

Tips on Asking for Support During Crohn’s or UC Flares

If you’re living with inflammatory bowel disease, you know that your life, health, abilities, and capabilities can change dramatically in a short period of time. From my experience, no matter how much I plan for the next flare, there are always things I wish I had done, I need but don’t have, or I would really benefit from help.

Asking for help during a Crohn’s or UC flare

I’ve thought a lot about this and about how it feels hard to ask for help. I don’t usually know what to ask for directly so I often keep quiet, and I never know who exactly I should reach out to in the event that I need (or want!) physical things or tangible assistance.

I wanted to share with you some thoughts I’ve put together after a lot of trial and error. To be honest, it’s SO MUCH better for my mental health and my stress levels as my symptoms increase to know that I know how to best ask for support and that I’m not alone in my trials, especially when this disease can feel so isolating.

Things that are helpful when dealing with a flare

In no particular order, here are some things that have worked for me:

  1. Keep a list in your phone of a few people who are local that you trust, and that might be able to do you a favor when you don’t feel well. Depending on your needs, this might mean stopping at the store, dropping off a cooked meal, picking up a prescription, taking you to a doctors appointment, sitting with you in the ER or visiting you at home or in the hospital.
  2. Then, add to the bottom of that list, a few people who might not necessarily be nearby, but who understand your heart. People you can call or facetime or text when you want to cry or vent or be distracted. One important note here: don’t leave out your other friends with IBD! I’ve often avoided telling them that I was doing poorly because I knew they had struggles of their own, and in retrospect, they wished they’d been able to be there for me. They understood my plight directly and agreed they’d tell me if whatever I was telling them or asking them in terms of support felt like too much at any given time.
  3. Think about your necessities during a flare: what foods or meal replacements you can tolerate, what clothes and basic household items that you both need and that would make you more comfortable, and anything that might cheer you up.
  4. If you have a roommate, live with family, have a spouse, children or pets, think about if they can help and/or have needs of their own while you are down and out.
  5. In the event that a friend or family member reaches out and asks what they can do for you, or what they can bring you or send to you, I’ve found politely declining over and over is a loss for both myself and the other person. They genuinely want to help, and I honestly could use it. I have found it to be easiest to have direct and tangible items I can ask for – such as groceries, prepared meals (or meal delivery), conversation to take my mind off of things or company when I don’t have the energy to talk.

Living with inflammatory bowel disease is hard enough, there’s absolutely no reason to decline help or support simply because you don’t know how to ask, or don’t want to inconvenience someone who has already offered.

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About Crohn's Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is a group of chronic lifelong conditions affecting the digestive tract. It includes both Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease (CD) which are similar but affect different parts of the intestine. UC affects the inner lining of the large intestine while CD can affect any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus. You can read further information on IBD in this patient information leaflet

Clinical features of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The main features of IBD are bloody diarrhoea associated with frequency, urgency and abdominal cramps.  In severe attacks patients may suffer weight loss and anorexia.

In addition patients may have symptoms from outside the digestive tract including:

•         Arthritis (large joints)
•         ankylosing spondylitis
•         erythema nodosum
•         pyoderma gangrenosum
•         iritis and episcleritis (inflammation of the eyeball)
•         primary sclerosing cholangitis (75% pts have IBD, Geonzon –Gonzales 2006)

How common is IBD?

•         15,000 people in Ireland have IBD
•         Incidence in Ireland – 6,000 UC
                                        – 3,000 CD

What causes IBD?
The cause of IBD is unknown but is thought to include:   Genetic susceptibility
A familial tendency 
Environmental factors -smokingstress

non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  

history of appendectomy

history of infection with mycobacteria  

activation of the immune system

possibly diet but not proven

•         Infective agents
•         Seasonal changes
•         Stress – implicated in aetiology of disease  (Mawdsley & Rampton 2005)

Treatment of IBD
Treatment for IBD is often simple and includes both local and oral medications, often the condition can be managed in the community by the patient’s General Practitioner after consultation with a Specialist. Regular review by a specialist is recommended for complex therapies and disease. Surgery may be required in difficult cases.

Mary Kennedy is the IBD Clinical Nurse Specialist at TUH. The IBD nurse is often your first point of contact if you require any advice regarding your disease. She provides a rapid point of access for IBD patients, in particular she can provide support, advice and information on your inflammatory bowel condition. Also, she will play an active role in disease and drug education and management. Treatments such as Infliximab (Remicade) and Adalimumab (Humira) are administered by the IBD Nurse.

An advice line is run by the IBD Nurse and the contact number is 01 414 3855.

TUH Gut Therapy Programme for IBS
The chronic diarrhoea pathway aims to provide patients with diarrhoea symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with fast access to the most appropriate investigations and management of their condition. Patients aged over 45 with chronic diarrhoea of more than one month duration will be automatically be triaged for a colonoscopy. If this and blood tests are normal they subsequently attend the dietitian led gut therapy clinic.

Patients aged under 45 with chronic diarrhoea of more than one month duration with red flag symptoms such as bleeding, weight loss, anaemia and family history of bowel cancer or IBD will also be automatically be triaged for a colonoscopy. If this and blood tests are normal they subsequently attend the dietitian led gut therapy clinic. 

Patients under 45 who do not have red flag features will have blood and stool tests done. If these are normal they attend the dietitian led gut therapy clinic, if an abnormality is detected they have a colonoscopy and are managed as appropriate after that.

Its most notable attribute is its effect on wound management and healing. Manuka honey also has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat numerous ailments, including irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, periodontal disease and upper respiratory infections.

Honey is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capacities, which may be useful for the prevention of chronic inflammatory process like atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases. The antibacterial, anti- inflammatory and antioxidant properties of honey

What is the fastest way to get rid of inflammation in the body?Follow these six tips for reducing inflammation in your body:

  1. Load up on anti-inflammatory foods. …
  2. Cut back or eliminate inflammatory foods. …
  3. Control blood sugar. …
  4. Make time to exercise. …
  5. Lose weight. …
  6. Manage stress.

Does b12 reduce inflammation?Vitamin B6, folate (B9), and B12 can lower your levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that’s linked to a greater risk for heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis. But we can’t say for sure that lowering homocysteine will also lower your risk for disease. The same is true for C-reactive protein, a sign of inflammation.

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click here to buy vitamin 12
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