Crohn’s disease is a chronic digestive disorder that affects the gastrointestinal tract (GI). According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), it causes inflammation and damage in the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease belongs to a group of conditions called inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
There’s currently no cure for Crohn’s disease, but various treatments can help manage its symptoms. If you have Crohn’s disease, it’s also a good idea to keep several over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and supplies on hand in case of an emergency.
The 10 Essentials to Help Manage Crohn's Disease
We suggest keeping these ten essential non-prescription supplies at home to ease your symptoms and lessen the effects of a flare-up from Crohn’s disease.
1. Antidiarrheal medications
A common symptom of IBD is diarrhea, and it can become worse during a flare. Antidiarrheal medications may be able to help. There are many choices at your local pharmacy that do not require a prescription. Those may include:
It is always important to speak to your doctor before taking any new OTC medication or supplement and thoroughly read and follow the dosing directions.
2. Pain relievers
Those with Crohn’s disease often experience stomach pain as a flare symptom. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help control inflammation associated with IBD. Research has linked NSAIDs to increased relapses, flares, and overall disease activity.
A better option might be using acetaminophens such as Tylenol or Geri-Care Liquid Pain Relief. These options will not help with inflammation but will reduce fever and pain. As always, talk to your doctor about the right pain reliever for you.
3. Ointment for skin irritation
Crohn’s flares can irritate the skin around the anus. Using a skin protectant, such as Balmex Diaper Rash Treatment, can protect against wetness and irritants, helping prevent diaper rash from getting worse.
4. Personal care wipes
You may experience perineal complications with Crohn’s disease, such as a fistula or abscess. Making sure to keep good hygiene could greatly help ease your symptoms. By using a perineal cleansing product such as DermaRite PeriFresh No-Rinse Perineal Cleanser and unscented wipes to clean and soothe irritated areas, your skin will thank you.
5. A thermometer
You may start to run a fever during a Crohn’s flare. Keeping a thermometer on hand is helpful so you can keep track of your Crohn’s disease symptoms for your next doctor appointment. Writing down the date, time, and length of your elevated temperature can help your doctor better understand your symptoms.
6. An electrolyte solution
If you are experiencing diarrhea as a symptom of your Crohn’s disease, you are likely losing sodium and sugar, which help you stay hydrated. During a Crohn’s flare, watery diarrhea can cause dehydration symptoms such as thirst, urinating less frequently, darker urine than usual, dry mouth, headaches, and fatigue.
Your doctor may recommend an OTC oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte or Sqwincher products. These oral supplements help replenish vital minerals and nutrients lost during diarrhea and aid in rehydration. The key electrolytes (sodium and potassium) promote fluid absorption and help keep the body’s defense immune system optimally performing.
7. Nutritional supplements
Stocking up on bottles of nutritional supplements can help make sure you are getting adequate calories and nutrition. Since some foods may contribute to your Crohn’s disease symptoms, these dietary supplements can aid in delivering the proper nutrients as you manage your flare.
8. Epsom salt
During a Crohn’s flare, anal fistulas and fissures can occur and cause painful bowel movements and soreness. Warm bath water with Epsom salt can help relieve the pain, itching, and muscle spasms. The water’s warmth may help ease the discomfort on the rear, and the Epsom salt can help soothe sore muscles and reduce inflammation.
9. Heating pads
Arthritis or pain and swelling of the joints are common complaints from those with Crohn’s disease. Heating pads deliver moist heat that can help relieve joint discomfort and help abdominal pain and cramping. These are low-risk solutions that might provide some needed comfort.
10. Vitamin supplements
With IBD, chronic intestinal bleeding leads to anemia, a lack of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to body tissue. Doctors often prescribe an iron supplement to address this condition. Blood loss from ulcers might be another reason an iron supplement may be recommended.
According to a 2019 study, Crohn’s disease and the steroids used to treat the condition have been linked to an increased risk for osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. Your doctor may recommend taking calcium and a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium to keep your bones healthy and prevent further problems.
Crohn’s disease can come with a wide array of complications and discomforts. Hopefully, some of these suggestions we have provided can help reduce your symptoms, ease your pain, lengthen your remission, and help you love an enjoyable life.
For any questions about the products, we carry at Personally Delivered that may help you get through your Crohn’s flare, our knowledgeable and caring Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to assist.