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Living with Crohn’s Disease

Man, doubling over in stomach pain | GI NorthWhether you have been recently diagnosed or have been living with Crohn’s disease for years, the daily struggles can be overwhelming. However, there are some simple things you can do to help ease your suffering.

Educate Yourself

Learning all you can about Crohn’s disease will help you recognize and cope with the symptoms. Know you are not alone as over 700,000 Americans suffer from Crohn’s. Understand that you did not cause your Crohn’s. A person’s stress and diet can aggravate the illness, but they are not the cause. Research treatment facilities and treatment options. You need a gastroenterologist whose philosophy of treatment and care aligns with your own.

Discern your Diet

While diet alone cannot treat Crohn’s, it can help you manage symptoms. Each person’s triggers are different, so it is vital to understand yours. Keep a food journal to help link the foods you eat to your reactions. Meals that leave you feeling well need to be documented just as carefully as those that cause a flare up, so you can know what to eat not just what to avoid. Some general dietary guidelines include monitoring fiber intake, avoiding foods that cause gas, and eating smaller more frequent meals.

Plan Ahead

Whether you are going somewhere familiar or somewhere new, have a strategy for emergencies to save yourself from embarrassing moments. Carry an emergency pack that contains a change of clothes, wipes, and deodorizers. Have a cover story and drive separately in case you need to leave early. Scope out restroom options and locations before getting settled. When traveling, plan for meals, restrooms, medication, and emergencies to alleviate some stress.

Stay Active

Living with a chronic illness can add stress to your life, so it is important to establish routines to help avoid depression and focusing on your symptoms. Exercising, meditation, and relaxation can reduce stress and provide distraction. Mental distraction can buy you extra time in an emergency or avoid panic when a restroom is not near.

Establish Support

The best coping mechanism is a strong support system. Yours may come in the form of a spouse, family, friends, colleagues, a support group, or a combination of all. Remember to use your support system as they are only as helpful as you let them be. Confiding in colleagues and employers may seem embarrassing, but it can help you better manage your needs at work.

One of the best places for support is your gastroenterologist. Maintaining an open relationship with your doctor can help you get medical assistance that is right for you. At GI North, Dr. Cofrancesco and Dr. Quijano are ready to guide you through your treatment of Crohn’s disease. Both doctors are specialists and understand GI needs and treatments. Their office, GI North, is conveniently located in Cumming, Ga., serving patients in Cumming, Alpharetta, Roswell, Canton, Suwanee, and more. Contact GI North today and start your path to better living.

© 2015 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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