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12 Important Things to Remember About Crohn’s Disease

12 Important Things to Remember About Crohn’s Disease

If someone in your life has Crohn’s disease, you might be curious about what exactly this condition is and what kind of problems that it brings. But you might be nervous about bringing the subject up or talking about it with your friend or loved one. This article serves as a guide to Crohn’s disease and the things you should remember if someone in your life has this difficult condition.

They deal with a lot of pain

Crohn’s disease causes inflammation and can affect any area of the digestive tract–most commonly the small and large intestines. This inflammation causes sometimes severe abdominal pain that can be difficult to control, especially during the flare-up. If the pain is chronic, it can interfere with general activities of daily living.

They have other digestive symptoms as well

Apart from abdominal pain, people with this condition can have other digestive problems as well. They will frequently suffer from diarrhea or constipation, abdominal cramping and bloating,  and bleeding from the rectum. They will sometimes also develop fistulas, usually around the rectal area.

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They might have a very restricted diet

While everyone with Crohn’s disease is different, there are some foods which researchers suspect can make the problem worse. Many people with this condition find that a low dairy, low fat and low residue diet are the most helpful for managing digestive problems. So don’t be offended if they don’t want to go out for pizza; it is probably not on the list of things that they can eat.

They often need supplements

Because their diet can be so restrictive, sometimes people with Crohn’s disease do not get enough nutrients in their diet. They will often have to also take oral supplements, like those for calcium, vitamin D or iron. They might also get shots, like B-12 injections, in order to make up for this deficit. In extreme cases, if they are not able to get enough food down, they will have to be fed through a g-tube or through an IV.

They can get infections easily

Sometimes, in order to control their condition, people with Crohn’s disease have to be given special medications like Imuran, which suppress their immune system. While Imuran can help those with Chrohn’s, it also means that the person’s body is less able to fight off infections–and this can make it a lot easier to get sick.

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They have to deal with severe side effects from medications

Apart from lowering their immunity, there are other side effects from medications that can make life difficult for those with this condition. Azulifidine, for example, is a common treatment but its side effects can include nausea with vomiting and diarrhea, as well as heartburn and headaches. Steroid treatment is also common to reduce inflammation, but it can cause problems like swelling of the face and hands, water weight and general weight gain and insomnia, just to name a few.

They might require surgery

In about half of all cases, Crohn’s disease becomes severe enough that surgery is required to remove the affected part of the digestive tract, such as a portion of the intestines. However, this usually only brings temporary relief and often the disease will occur again.

They might need help to manage stress

While stress does not cause Crohn’s disease, it can make it worse. Learning stress relief techniques like deep breathing exercises or meditation can help them manage their day to day stress and hopefully help prevent a flare-up.

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They might use complementary therapies

Many people with Crohn’s disease also turn to complementary or alternative medicines to help with day-to-day management of their condition. This can include supplements like probiotics or fish oil, or even techniques like acupuncture, which have been shown to help control several disease symptoms.

They have more treatment options than in the past

One positive thing about this condition is that there are more treatment options for it than in the past. Research is underway with techniques, like stem cell treatments and fecal transplants, that might help to greatly improve the lives of those with Crohn’s disease.

They still have sexual needs

Just like anyone else, people with Crohn’s Disease have sexual desires and feelings. However, because of pain and digestive problems like diarrhea, this disease can make sex more of a challenge. With good communication and a willingness to experiment with different positions and techniques, a satisfying sex life is still possible.

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They need emotional support

Because of the challenges that people with Crohn’s disease can face in everyday life, emotional support of family and friends is vital. Just being there for them and letting them know that you want to help can make a huge difference!

In short, this is not an easy condition to live with. Simple things like eating, going to the bathroom, being intimate with someone, or even just being free of pain can present huge obstacles for people with Crohn’s disease. Again, simply having the support of family and friends can help with an overall positive attitude and emotional health even in the face of these challenges.

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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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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