10 Tips for Living With Crohn's Disease

  • woman writing
    Keep a Food Diary
    Writing down what you eat can help you notice patterns and identify foods that might aggravate your symptoms. You can share the diary with your doctor or dietitian to make sure you're getting a healthy diet.

  • pills-in-prescription-bottle
    Mind Your Meds
    Take your medication as directed. Skipping doses, doubling doses, or stopping your medication without your doctor's OK may cause symptoms to flare up. Questions about your medicines? Ask your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Get Your Fill of Fluids
    Get Your Fill of Fluids
    If you have chronic diarrhea, you need to replenish your fluids to protect your kidneys. Staying hydrated can also help you fight fatigue. Sip, don't gulp; it can trap air in your intestines and make you gassy.

  • Eat Smaller, More Frequent Portions
    Eat Smaller, More Frequent Portions
    Eating smaller portions—no larger than the size of your fist—every three or four hours can help prevent cramps. Think about having five small meals or snacks a day, rather than three big meals.

  • Use Mouthwash
    Use Mouthwash
    Canker sores are common in people who have Crohn's disease. You can ease the irritation with a medicinal mouthwash. And don't forget to see your dentist regularly.

  • woman-meditation
    Relax Symptoms Away
    Stress can make symptoms like diarrhea, urgency, and cramps come on strong. Test-drive strategies to help you find balance, such as yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises.

  • Women walking for exercise
    Keep Bones Strong
    Like many people with Crohn's disease, you may be taking medicine that has an unfortunate side effect: It weakens your bones. Weight-bearing exercises like walking and stair-climbing can make bones stronger.

  • Don't Shy Away from Intimacy
    Don't Shy Away from Intimacy
    Even if you're having symptoms, you can still enjoy some togetherness time. Share with your partner what feels good to you, like kissing, hugging, or massage. Not in the mood at all? It's normal, whether or not you have a chronic disease. Let your partner know it's not personal. Tomorrow is another day.

  • sign for public restroom
    Be Prepared for Public Outings
    Avoid awkward social situations—and unnecessary stress—when you're out and about by locating the restrooms in shops and restaurants. For peace of mind, pack a change of underwear and pants along with toilet paper, baby wipes, panty liners, and deodorizer.

  • Stick to a Routine to Beat the Blahs
    Stick to a Routine to Beat the Blahs
    Keep your days structured, and follow a schedule when you can. Having something planned for the day can help you get up and at 'em each morning—even when you don't feel like it. Even little things can help keep you motivated, such as a favorite morning show or a call with a friend.

10 Tips for Living With Crohn's Disease

About The Author

  1. Understanding IBD Medications and Side Effects, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, July 2010 (http://www.ccfa.org/frameviewer/?url=/media/pdf/editedmedications.pdf);
  2. Managing Flares and Other IBD Symptoms, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, April 2009 (http://www.ccfa.org/frameviewer/?url=/media/pdf/flares_brochure_web.pdf);
  3. The Intimate Relationship of Sex and IBD, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, accessed February 23, 2011 (http://www.ccfa.org/frameviewer/?url=/media/pdf/ibdsexuality.pdf);
  4. Living with Crohn’s Disease, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, May 2010 (http://www.ccfa.org/frameviewer/?url=/media/pdf/livingwithcd52010.pdf);
  5. Diet and Nutrition, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, April 29, 2009 (http://www.ccfa.org/info/diet?LMI=4.2);
  6. Tips for Getting Out of Bed, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, 2009 (http://www.ccfa.org/living/depression/outofbed);
  7. Fact Sheet: General Healthcare Maintenance, Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, December 11, 2009 (http://www.ccfa.org/media/pdf/FactSheets/healthmaint.pdf);
  8. What People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease Need to Know About Osteoporosis, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, January 2011 (http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Conditions_Behaviors/inflammatory_bowel.asp);
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Last Review Date: 2019 May 24
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