The term Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) refers to two chronic illnesses that vary in severity from patient to patient. Some people only have inflammation in their colon, which is known as Ulcerative Colitis (UC), while others have inflammation throughout their digestive tract, which is known as Crohn’s Disease. The causes of these chronic illnesses are currently unknown, but they are thought to be linked to our genetics and immune systems.
IBD patients experience flare-ups of the disease, which include abdominal pain and cramps, tiredness and fatigue, fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, severe weight loss, joint pain, and even anaemia. Suffering from these symptoms can be debilitating, but there are ways to improve your quality of life when they occur, as well as suggestions on how to reduce the number of cases. Here are some ways to improve your quality of life if you have Crohn’s disease or colitis.
Learn About Your IBD
Understanding your own disease is critical for determining what causes it and how to best manage it. Everyone develops their own methods for minimizing symptoms and avoiding flare-ups entirely, so be diligent in understanding your situation. It may be difficult to focus on these things, especially if you are experiencing symptoms, but try to rationalize the disease as much as possible and look forward. Maintaining a positive attitude and remaining calm may help to alleviate some symptoms, as stress is known to be a possible trigger for flare-ups. Once you understand your IBD, you can better prepare for potential flare-ups and possibly avoid situations that could trigger them entirely.
Assist Others in Understanding
Although IBD diagnoses have become much more common in recent years, the chances of being met with puzzled looks when attempting to explain your illness to someone are still quite high. Frequently, you may be explaining your problem while experiencing a flare-up. This can be an unpleasant experience because concentrating while in pain or discomfort is difficult at best. Find a way to recite what your disease entails in a concise manner so that you can quickly and effectively explain your situation. It also helps to prevent you from accidentally giving far too much information when asked about it in social situations!
If you’ve been diagnosed with Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, you’ve probably had a number of treatments or medications prescribed to help alleviate your symptoms. Many of these treatments can have a significant positive impact on your condition, so it’s critical to consult with medical professionals to determine the best course of action for you. If you find that those treatments aren’t working for you, or if you’re simply looking for other options, it might be worth seeking advice from a functional medicine clinic.
While classified as alternative medicine, the overall goal of functional medicine is to identify the root causes of illnesses and target those causes to improve your condition. This specialized clinic provides science-based, personalized treatment and guidance to assist you in dealing with chronic illness and improving your overall quality of life. Of course, before embarking on any course of treatment, it is critical that you conduct your own research to determine the best option for you.
Fitness and Exercise
Severe cases of IBD, as you are probably aware, can require you to spend extended periods of time bedridden and sitting down resting. Cramps and abdominal pain can make it difficult to move around, so having Crohn’s or colitis can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. Finding ways to stay active in between flare-ups is important for staying in shape and improving your mental health and outlook on life. Low-impact exercises are an excellent way to stay fit without risking injury or complicating your gut health. High-impact exercises are not advised because joint pain is a common symptom of IBD. Yoga, fast walks, cycling, swimming, or Pilates can help with stiff joints and muscles while also building core strength and stamina.
A Balanced Diet
One of the most important aspects of coping with bowel disease is eating the right foods. While changing our diet has not been shown to cure or even prevent IBD, there are ways to alleviate symptoms. It’s important to remember that no single diet will work for everyone, so conduct your own research into your needs and triggers to help you build a diet plan that’s right for you. Some of your favorite foods may turn out to be a source of flare-ups. Unfortunately, you should try to avoid these, no matter how appealing they may be. There are also extensive lists of safer foods to try as well as common triggers such as alcohol and processed foods. Read about other people’s experiences and use them to help you develop a plan that works for you.