Crohn’s disease is associated with a group of inflammatory bowel diseases that affect nearly 3 million Americans. Although Crohn’s is a severe condition, there is help available.
Thankfully, individuals with Crohn’s disease can manage their symptoms by eating healthy and taking supplements to build their immune system.
If you’re interested in learning more about this illness, just keeping reading.
What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease—also referred to as ileitis or enteritis—is a chronic illness that causes inflammation within the digestive tract.
It’s an inflammatory bowel disease that’s painful, crippling, and possibly life-threatening. It damages various parts of the gut, from the mouth down to the anus.
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unclear, but it likely stems from an abnormal reaction within the immune system. As a result, the immune system attacks good bacteria, food, and other beneficial substances within the body.
It’s also unclear what triggers the abnormality with the immune system, but some factors include the environment, genetics, and the individual immune systems.
To diagnose this disorder, the doctor may begin by doing a physical exam. Other tests may be performed, such as:
- Stool and blood tests
- CT Scan
If symptoms are severe, surgery may be required. Issues like internal bleeding, perforation, fistulas, or stricture could make Crohn’s complications worse if they aren’t addressed.
Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
Pain: The intensity of pain that individuals with Crohn’s disease feel depends on where they experience inflammation within the gut. In most cases, it’s felt in the lower abdomen.
Diarrhea: The level of diarrhea experienced by ranges from mild to severe. There are also times when blood, pus, or mucus in the stool. Sometimes patients may feel the urge to go to the bathroom, but nothing comes out.
Rectal Bleeding and Anal Fissures: Because of the Crohn’s disorder, the skin around the anus becomes cracked and caused pain and bleeding.
Anemia: With blood loss as a factor, some individuals develop anemia.
Mouth Ulcers: Another common Crohn’s disease symptom is mouth ulcers.
Weight Loss: Lots of people with Crohn’s have a loss of appetite, which causes weight loss.
Gut Ulcers: Ulcers cause raw areas in the gut to bleed, making blood occasionally appear in stool.
Fatigue: Fatigue is a common side effect experienced by patients.
What Is a Crohn’s Disease Flare Up?
A Crohn’s disease flare-up creates an onset of symptoms and causes inflammation along the gastrointestinal tract. Signs of a flare-up include:
- Joint Pain
- Mouth Sores
- Rectal Pain
- Abdominal Cramps
Some of the most common triggers of a flare-up are the following:
- Severe Stress
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Changes in medication
A flare-up can happen at any time, so it’s best to carry a kit that can help to manage symptoms. Items like protective barrier ointment, medicated mouthwash, or over-the-counter meds can ease discomfort.
How to Avoid a Crohn’s Disease Flare Up
The best way to avoid a flare-up is to avoid foods that could trigger it. Since food directly affects the digestive system, it’s vital to eat a proper diet. Here are the best foods for Crohn’s:
Low Fiber Food
Food that’s low in fiber is easier on the digestive system and can help to manage diarrhea. Foods like peaches, bananas, watermelon, and cantaloupe are best. Also, fruit that’s ripe has less fiber, so avoid fruit that’s unripe.
Bare and Peeled Vegetables
Veggies like asparagus and mushrooms are good for a Crohn’s diet. Most food that has a layer on this usually contain insoluble fiber. Consider peeling vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and squash to remove some of the fiber.
Fatty foods can trigger a flare-up or prolong current symptoms. Skinless chicken and turkey are good meat options. If you choose to eat pork or beef, select the leanest cut with the least amount of fat.
Fish that contain omega-3 fatty acids helps to fight against inflammation and minimize the risk of heart disease and cancer. Two servings of oily fish per week are good for individuals with Crohn’s disease.
The recommended fish to eat is salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, tuna, and sardines. Too much fat can trigger a flare-up, so grill or bake it to reduce the fat content.
Refined grains don’t have as much fermentable fiber as whole grains. That means they pass through the digestive tract a lot quicker. They also are easier on the gut and don’t cause as much inflammation.
Foods like white bread, pasta, pancakes, rice snacks, and white rice are just a few examples.
Peeling your fruit can help to reduce the amount of insoluble fiber around it. Also, by poaching the fruit, it decreases the amount of fiber it has. The more the fruit is processed, the easier it is for your body to digest it.
It’s a good idea to consider canned fruit. However, a lot of canned produce is high in sugar. Therefore it’s best to use brands that are preserved in natural juices.
Foods To Avoid
There are also plenty of foods you should avoid for your health. These include:
- Acidic beverages
- Fruit with the skin and seeds
- Red meat
- Spicy food
- Whole grains
- Raw green veggies
- Sugar-free or low sugar food
- Unhealthy fats like butter and margarine
Learn More About Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is a harsh illness, but thankfully it can be managed. To learn more about the disease, visit our website. We provide information regarding the Crohn’s diet and probiotic treatment.
Our website is dedicated to educating individuals with Crohn’s and providing them with solutions.