If you have Crohn’s disease, you know the symptoms all too well. Nausea, abdominal discomfort, and frequent and urgent bowel movements are the realities of a Crohn’s flare-up.
Flare-ups can happen even if you usually manage your symptoms relatively well. Over time, your symptoms may also get progressively worse, regardless of your attentive care. You should always consult with your doctor if you’re experiencing worsening symptoms or having frequent flare-ups.
You’re also likely looking for ways to reduce your symptoms as much as possible. You can try some of these six strategies to help alleviate your symptoms.
1. Managing Your Stress Levels Is Key
Stress plays a major role in many Crohn’s disease flare-ups. If you’ve been under a lot of pressure at work or you’re experiencing stress in your personal life, it could be a factor in your flare-up.
Taking a stress management class or participating in some mindfulness activities could help you learn to alleviate both stress and your symptoms. You can’t always control stressors, but you can control how you react to them.
2. Change Your Diet
Since Crohn’s affects your GI tract, it shouldn’t be a surprise to know your diet can play a major role in symptom management.
If you’ve recently made changes to your diet, they could be responsible for a flare-up. Take a look at what you’ve been eating or keep a food diary to spot potential irritant foods.
Most patients do a good job of tracking what they eat because it’s tied to their symptoms. You may notice your symptoms getting worse, even if you’re sticking to a relatively bland diet. If so, it could be time to re-evaluate and consult with your doctor.
3. Exercise Regularly
If you’re having a flare-up, the last thing you want to do is go for a jog. Nonetheless, regular exercise is one step that can help alleviate your symptoms.
Exercise can help you lower and manage stress levels. It also has effects on the body, such as releasing endorphins and other chemicals that can affect the GI tract. Exercise is also part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so it’s a good idea to stay fit.
4. Use Medical Cannabis
Several studies linking medical cannabis to the effective management of Crohn’s disease symptoms have now been published. Some of the most recent studies found cannabis to be effective, even though it didn’t seem to alleviate inflammation in the gut.
Medical cannabis may be an option for you if you’re looking for ways to more effectively manage your symptoms.
5. Take Your Medication Correctly
Whether you’re using medical cannabis or another prescribed medication, you should ensure you’re taking your medication as directed. Skipping doses or taking the wrong dose could leave you feeling the effects of a flare-up.
If you are taking your medication exactly as prescribed, you should talk to your doctor. It may be time to change your dose or the type of medication you’re using.
6. See Your Doctor Regularly
When you’re trying to manage a condition like Crohn’s disease, it’s important to consult with your doctor and other medical professionals on a regular basis. They can help monitor you for changes, suggest new treatments, and help you manage your symptoms more effectively.
While there are multiple causes that can lead to a flare-up, being able to identify them can help you reduce their effects on your daily life.