Unfortunately, you need to be prepared for flare-ups if you have Crohn's disease.
Flare-ups happen when the symptoms of Crohn's return after a period of remission, or low disease activity. A flare-up can occur at any time and under any circumstance. Remember, even though some symptoms of Crohn's can be minimized during treatment, disease symptoms tend to recur over time. That's why Crohn's is known as a chronic (or recurring) disease.
As explained earlier, the goal of Crohn's treatment is to bring patients to a state of remission, which is a disease-free or limited-disease state. Minimizing flare-ups means trying to keep the disease in a state of remission.
Here are some Crohn's disease management tips to minimize flare-ups. Remember to discuss your Crohn’s management treatment plan with your doctor.
- Always take your medication(s) as directed by your doctor, even if you're feeling better. Your risk for a future flare-up is reduced when you take your medication consistently.
Don't treat your Crohn's flare-up with over-the-counter medications, unless you check with your doctor or pharmacist first. (Read more about talking with your doctor about Crohn's in the Winter 2010 issue of Crohn'sAdvocate magazine.) Some over-the-counter medications are known to cause ulcerations, or sores, in the intestinal tract.
- Don't take antibiotics until you check with your doctor. Some antibiotics can cause the disease to flare up.
- Don't smoke. Smoking can make Crohn's disease more active and can interfere with the remission process. After surgery for Crohn's, the illness can recur sooner in smokers than in nonsmokers.
See also: Dealing with your emotions, Feel-good recipes, Stories from people with Crohn's