Managing your Crohns or Colitis is much easier said than done. When you are in a state where you are not only physically weak , but also mentally fragile, the will to do anything is non existent. I have been there too , this month marks 4 months of me receiving my diagnosis. Although , prior to my diagnosis I had been experiencing symptoms for 8 months.
I tried a variety of different techniques over these months.Through trial and error I found a few which seem to work for me. I will be sharing these tips in hope that they will be beneficial to at least somebody.
Keeping a food diary
I can not stress how important this is. When in a flare , it is not always what you’ve eaten within one day that has caused it. It is important to keep track what you’re eating and review your symptoms after you’ve eaten a particular food.Knowing what foods are causing your flare is an important step to reducing your symptoms and discomfort.
For example, for three months I spent wondering , what was it that I’m eating that is making my symptoms worse ? Through writing down what I was eating , over the course of 6 days I was able to see nightshade foods such as :
- Peppers (bell peppers, chili peppers, paprika, tamales, tomatillos, pimentos, cayenne, etc)
Including spices like cinnamon and curry were causing harm.
Staying on the subject of food, always remember what you eat hasn’t caused your IBD it can triggers the symptoms.
It is prerequisite to stay away from high fibre foods! People with healthy guts already struggle to digest these foods. Now you and I with an inflamed gut will find that process 10x harder.
- Spicy foods are a no go ! It was quite hard for me to adapt to this change as I am of Black african descent and many of us are accustomed to eating very spicy food. What did help a lot is having my mum cook my favourite meals with less heat
- Processed meats, fried fatty foods and sugar are also things to avoid
- Having smaller and more frequent meals was a win win for me. As a student I am out of the house during early hours. To avoid having my disastrous loo trips whilst in a flare I would skip breakfast.. umm I don’t know if this is recommended ( please speak to your specialist before you take action) but it did help me tremendously.
- Eat like a baby – no literally. When I’m experiencing a tummy ache , I turn to my baby food diet ( I only eat the apple ,banana and pear mix). If the idea of eating baby food creeps you out sticking to a liquid based diet for a day or two will give your gut a well deserved break.
Shake up your diet – eat more foods that promote healthy gut bacteria and have anti-inflammatory properties such as :
- Green tea
which leads me onto my next point..
Create a good relationship with your consultants , nurses and doctors.
As we all know, frequent hospital trips are part of the pack. Which at first can seem very daunting. I have been lucky enough to have built a very good relationship with my nurses and doctors at my local hospital.
- Make it easier for them.By keeping a log book of what you’re eating , your symptoms ( which can include how many bowel movements you’re having a day , nausea , fatigue etc) you’ll easily be able to explain to them the nature of your issues rather than providing them with guesses, ummmsss and aaaaahs’. Many IBD symptoms crossover so the diagnosis process can sway from one condition to the other. Don’t panic if you don’t do any of this , I didn’t either at first. You will have many colonoscopies and/or MRI scans to determine your exact problem.
- Feeling comfortable speaking to your nurse, consultant or doctor. Being able to communicate worries or any changes across to your health care specialist is vital. You need to keep them in the loop about what is going on with you , to adjust treatment or provide any necessary support. Keeping them in the dark about your IBD will do more harm than it will do good . DO NOT WAIT TILL YOUR NEXT APPOINTMENT TO TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR if you are feeling poorly. There is an emergency helpline provide to those with gastrointestinal problems. I have called my local hospital’s gastro help line and have received consultations over the phone too.
Exercise and IBD’s?
Well , let’s be honest this shouldn’t be on here because I really haven’t really put this to practice , yet.
Many of us take medication that suppresses the immune system in order to relieve inflammation. But with a weaker immune system than our ”normal’‘ counterparts , we are more prone to viruses and infections. As is evident , I’ve literally had a flu throughout this winter season 😦 . So what can we do to change that?
After speaking to people with IBD and other autoimmune diseases exercise seems to be the key point. Having a healthy balanced diet is just one pillar for the foundation. It is recommended we get about 45 minutes to an hour per day of exercise. As a student with a tight schedule , I keep convincing myself I don’t have an hour or two to spare at the gym.. or is that all just an act of procrastination. Well , maybe. The nearest gym is about 30 minutes away and in this ice cold weather that commute is one I do not want to be making.
I have set myself a goal to exercise for at least an hour a day. However I have not yet decided on what exercises to engage myself with. If you have any suggestions please share them in the comment section!
Last but definitely not least.
Find people who you can relate to. Tackling crohn’s is not just down to controlling your physical issues, it is also important to mentally stay afloat. IBD’S can be very isolating as many people will not be able to relate to our experiences or we may not want to discuss it due to the nature of our symptoms. It would be detrimental to your mental state of mind if you do not find somebody who gets it…
My target audience for my blog are people aged anywhere between the ages of 15-35, many people in this age range are active social media users. Thanks to today’s globalised world we can easily share and communicate our experiences. Becoming part of an online community of those WHO GET IT. Has helped me overcome my insecurities by far. I have signed up to volunteer with Crohns&Colitis UK and hopefully I will be able to dedicate a few hours a week to this cause and have face-face interaction with people WHO GET IT.
Below I have listed two of my favourite instagram pages relating to IBD. I’ve struggled to really find any social media influencers with Crohns.
I have realised I don’t engage with my followers as much as I should do, please comment below anything you’d like me to discuss in my next post and share any other tricks of how you manage your IBD.
Thank you for reading ❤ 🙂 x