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5 Ways to Help if You Love Someone With Crohn’s Disease

5 Ways to Help if You Love Someone With Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease, named for the doctor who first described it in 1932, is part of a collection of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Symptoms include abdominal pain, intense diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. Crohn’s is occasionally diagnosed in children, but mostly in young adults up to age 30. Somewhere between 0.2% and 0.3% of adult Americans are diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, this figures to be almost one million people. It is only diagnosed after a series of tests and biopsies.

Causes primarily stem from immune system infections or hereditary conditions. The highest demographic affected are white people and those living in urban areas, particularly in northern US states. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can complicate matters with increased bowel inflammation. Smoking can also increase risks and symptoms. Inflammation can extend through several layers of bowel tissue, create bowel obstructions, ulcers, and fistulas producing major digestion issues.

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Crohn’s has no cure, but there are a series of treatments to relieve the pressure, including a medication regimen and surgery. Understanding that this is a chronic, debilitating condition, it helps to have a grasp of what may help alleviate symptoms for friends and family.

1. Stay Aware of Their Diet Modification

Keeping diet in check is a primary means to controlling Crohn’s symptoms. The Mayo Clinic advises to stay away from dairy, fiber, high fat foods, spicy foods, booze and caffeine. It is also prudent to eat small meals and take multivitamins. Helping a person stick to a regimented diet, perhaps even keeping a food diary, will make their lives more pleasant as well as those around them.

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2. Provide Emotional and Physical Support

It is really hard to do most daily tasks with a crippling disease, but the hardest thing is to suffer alone. Friends and family should take extra concern to make sure life is pleasant for the person, like cooking some meals or helping clean their house to make life less stressful. Also, provide an ear for their complaints and take the complaints seriously.

If needed, encourage the person to seek therapy to help deal with the emotional toll. Just because the person isn’t complaining at one moment doesn’t mean they aren’t in pain, or that the pain won’t return at any time. This is something that ebbs and flows. The depression that comes with Crohn’s can be hidden.

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3. Discuss Alternative Medicine Treatment

Healthline mentions some common alternative therapies such as herbal supplements, probiotics, prebiotics, fish oil, and acupuncture. However, the Mayo Clinic notes that studies have shown little to no results with any of these and supplements are also not regulated as to effectiveness by the FDA. Some other alternative therapies to alleviate symptoms include marshmallow root, which contains polysaccharide to help line the stomach cutting down on ulcers and other intestinal disorders while also giving the immune system a boost. Aloe vera is touted as a cure for everything and also has polysaccharides to aid in digestive problems. Barley grass has been popular in health food circles lately, one reason being its digestive enzymes that may fight off gastrointestinal problems. Barley grass does, however, have a high fiber content, so it would be recommended to discuss options with a doctor.

Beyond these, if there is still no relief in sight, there are two major alternative therapies that also merit some consideration.

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4. Read Up on Worm Therapy

Parasitic pig worms have shown to reduce chronic diarrhea in monkeys, and reduced inflammation in the colon and intestines. Such worms, or helminthes, have traditionally been part of human digestive tracts, though the presence of these worms has decreased considerably in the developed world as they are known as a parasite that causes infections in malnourished children. Meanwhile, however, autoimmune diseases have consistently increased in the developed world over the last 50 years. The research showed helminthes work to restore immune regulatory networks by controlling levels of gut bacteria and stimulating mucus production. Gross, parasitic or not, this method could be much better than living with the disease.

5. Consider That Marijuana May Be The Answer

A teacher from Germany dealt with the debilitating nature of Crohn’s and medication side effects for nearly a year before finally trying hemp oil. Within days, the apparently incurable disease and all the side effects had disappeared. Likewise, in a study of people smoking marijuana, 5 of 11 people saw a total remission. The National Institute of Health concedes that cannabis may be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory in bowels, and has been used as such since ancient times.

Though Crohn’s is chronic and painful, there are very real ways of handling the disease and living with it. By following a few pressure relieving treatments and assisting the person inflicted, life is made better. More awareness of this condition will only help the loved ones of people who suffers.

Featured photo credit: Manuel Paul/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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