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Guest Post: A Young Person’s Guide to Living with Crohn’s Disease

Today I have a few tips for newbies, courtesy of a guest nutritionist. Bianca Ridley works for Nutricia, a company that specializes in the delivery of advanced medical nutrition for the very young, the old and the sick. As well as being the largest specialist nutrition company in Europe, Nutricia is the market leader in the UK. They supply high quality feeds, systems and support services to patients and health care professionals.

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Living with Crohn’s Disease as a young person is challenging in the least. You may feel as though life isn’t fair or you may envy those who are free from the everyday illness.

However, many adults who began suffering from Crohn’s Disease as a child will reassure you that as you grow older the symptoms are much easier to handle. There are a few reasons for this and here is the most popular advice from those that have been in your position.

You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile

It may sound twee* but the state of mind is a powerful healer. Now you have a diagnosis you can begin to understand the disease and take steps to deal with it daily. You should have received a plan for alleviating symptoms from your health professional and you will receive support that will help you feel better. There will also be times when you feel perfectly well (remission) and these are the moments to focus on.

Knowledge is Power

The more you understand about the disease the more you’ll be able to handle the flare ups. Connect with people in similar situations and receive support from your peers. Hearing how others deal with it can give you the boost you need, you can also trade tips and socialise knowing you don’t have to explain the disease.

A Spoonful of Sugar

You may not feel the need to take your medicine every day, especially if you are in remission, however regular doses will minimise flare-ups and keep you feeling well for longer.

Listen to your Gut

We don’t have to tell you to eat healthily as this has probably been drummed into you already however you can learn what foods cause flare ups and which ones don’t. Although the usual suspects such as fat, sodium and sugar may set anyone with Crohn’s Disease off you will have some foods that only irritate you. Learning about the advanced medical nutrition you need to stay well for longer will make everyday life a lot easier.

Plan Ahead

Whether you’re in class at school, at a restaurant or visiting a friend, for your own peace of mind make sure you find out in advance where the toilets are. Choose seats close to the loos and always carry wet wipes and underwear just in case.

Avoid the Plague

You can stay well for longer by avoiding situations where people have infectious diseases. You know that colds, infections and other diseases can be more uncomfortable for you. Wait until your friend’s sniffles subside before paying them a visit. In the meantime, make the most of the internet!

*twee: excessively sweet.

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4 comments on “Guest Post: A Young Person’s Guide to Living with Crohn’s Disease

  1. I am 48 years old, I was diagnosed with Crohns disease when I was 32. Although I have suffered with GI problems since I was 12 years old. My zcrohns came out when I was pregnant with my daughter. I have an ileostomy as well. I have been exercising & have gone organic & gluten free as well. I am currently only on Pentasa! I have chronic fatigue, arthritis in my hips& skin & eye problems. My brother wants me to go see a dietician because he says I look unhealthy. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Marci, it sounds like you’re committed to improving your health. I admire your resolve! Despite your best efforts, your health might still have room to improve through nutrition. I agree with your brother: you should consider seeing a dietician. They can test vitamin and mineral deficiencies you might be unaware of, and they can provide very useful advice about balancing your diet to accommodate your digestive needs. Even if you feel like your diet is complete and “healthy,” it’s still possible to have nutritional deficiencies, and a medical professional can help you figure everything out.

  2. I learn so much from your emails, thank you so much! I wanted to ask another question, when I am under stress (which is 99% of the time), I get abscesses in certain area’s & cold sores in my mouth. Plus even though I exercise almost everyday I still have a lot of fatigue & wear out easy. Also during the last 6 months or so I have been trouble with my balance, like when I am stretching before or after exercise I have to hold onto something or I will fall over. Have you experienced any of these things? If so any suggestions?

    • Hi Marci! I don’t get cold sores in my mouth, but I am familiar with fatigue. I think it’s awesome that you exercise regularly despite your health issues. My balance is hilariously terrible nowadays, but back when it was good, I’m pretty sure my Irish step dancing was the culprit. Since I’m pretty dismally unfit right now, I can point you to some of my friends who have been through fatigue and managed to even run races! Jackie at Blood, Poop, and Tears, Lauren at Forward is a Pace, Charis at Full Frontal Ostomy, and Ali at Ali on the Run. Those are the first ones that came to mind, anyway.

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