Things I Do to Manage Crohn’s

Since I allowed my blog to show up in search engine results I saw that I got a fair amount of hits from people looking for information on Crohn”s Disease. I never wanted to make this blog be about Crohn’s Disease (I refuse to be defined by my physical condition) but I wouldn’t mind helping out other people who have Crohn’s. And before you read any of this note that I am not a doctor, I’m just a young adult with Crohn’s Disease. If you think that you may have Crohn’s or IBS or Ulcerative Colitis, do not self-diagnose, go see a gastroenterologist. Anyway, here’s stuff that has helped me.

1. Medication – Initially I was taking Asacol (an anti-inflammatory) and some very expensive steroids that I forgot the name of. After a few months he took me off of the steroids and kept me on Asacol. Roughly a year later he switched me from Asacol to Lialda. Lialda is basically the same thing as Asacol, only you need to take it once a day instead of three times a day.

2. Supplements – Everyday I take 500MG of Glutamine, a probiotic with 16 strains of bacteria and 500 mcg of B12.

I started taking the Glutamine after reading that it can help heal ulcers, I find that it helps. I’ve always strongly believed in probiotics as well. The one I have pictured doesn’t have patented GMO bacteria in it like the ones you see advertised on TV. I really feel like the GMO probiotics are just the pharmaceutical companies trying to make more money, and I’ve never liked the idea of GMOs anyway. Lastly, my mother was the one who forced me to start taking B12. She read that people with Crohn’s can have trouble absorbing B12, and that B12 is very important for one’s mental state. I have realized that times when I’ve gotten extremely irrational and stressed myself out as a result, I hadn’t been taking my B12.

I should be taking a multi-vitamin every day as well, but I end up forgetting to most of the time. I hate taking so many pills in the morning and plan to take my multi later on in the day but that never happens.

3. Stress Management – This is the hardest thing out of all of them.  I could talk about deep breathing and meditation but that’s not what helped me, what helped me was finally changing my mindset. For me this meant realizing what it really meant for me to do my best. I used to have the mindset that I would either get an A on an exam or fail it, B’s weren’t possible. This wasn’t because I couldn’t accept the grade of  a C or a B, but because I felt that if I didn’t know everything, I knew nothing and would fail.

My father has always told me that he’s happy as long as I do my best. But if I got an 80 on an exam I felt that it wasn’t my best because I could have studied more. I have now learned that that is not true. I can only study so much without going insane. When I was getting straight A’s (I’m not exaggerating) at an engineering school I had no social life and I was miserable. I was always on edge with school work and couldn’t let myself relax. After a year and a half of that I transferred to a college where I could enter a math education program. When I got there I was finally able to let myself relax a little. Then I came to see that doing my best didn’t mean getting 100’s, it meant studying without going crazy and getting whatever grade that earned me.

I still get stressed out before some exams, but that’s still better than getting stressed out before *every* exam.

4. Avoiding Trigger Foods – This differs from person to person. For me, I can eat these things in controlled amounts if I’ve been feeling well for an extended period of time and am not under stress, if not I must avoid them like the plague.

Carageenan – This is an additive that comes from seaweed. It’s in ice-cream, vegan meat substitutes, soy milk and other processed foods. This is the ingredient that got me reading the ingredient labels of everything. If you’re fine drinking milk and eating yogurt, but ice cream bothers you, you could have an issue with carageenan. Likewise, if you think you may have a soy allergy because soy milk and vegan soy meats have made you feel sick, carageenan may be your real problem.  I recommend googling “carageenan” most of the results on the first page will be about it’s negative aspects. You can expect me to devote an entire blog to this horrible additive in the future.

Insoluble Fiber – Bran, seeds, popcorn, etc. This will give me diarrhea. Soluble fiber on the other hand is a good thing.

Greasy/Fried Foods – This will also give me diarrhea and stomach pains. On the bright side I can enjoy these foods if I’ve been feeling well for a while as long as I don’t eat too much. If I’m not feeling well, the taste of the grease has a way of alerting my brain which then alerts me to stop eating whatever I’m eating.

This is all I have at the moment. If you want to get active in spreading awareness about IBD I suggest taking a look at CCFA’s website, and donating or participating in a walk.

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