Crohn’s Disease: 10 Essentials to Keep in Your Medicine Cabinet

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:

  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Kaopectate
  • Imodium-ID

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

GeriCare liquid pain reliefThose 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

Balmex Diaper Rash OintmentCrohn’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

Sqwincher Electrolyte Replenishment DrinkIf 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.

Ensure Original Strawberry flavored therapeutic nutritional shakeThere are plenty of flavorful supplements on the market today, so getting the right balance doesn’t have to taste bland. Some of the delicious varieties include:

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.

Popular Nutritional Products

Ensure Plus Therapeutic Nutrition Shake

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How Nutrition Relates to Inflammatory Bowel Disease

woman holding her stomach in discomfortWhen a person suffers from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, they suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This disease affects the digestive system and impacts a person’s nutrition in many different ways. Making choices about which foods to eat might become challenging because some of them may worsen symptoms related to this disease.

There are some common misconceptions about one’s diet and IBD. We will go into further detail about the disease, its relationship to nutrition, and some possible treatment options.

What Exactly is IBD?

When one’s digestive tract is persistently inflamed, they are suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There are two types of IBD, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis.

The lining of the digestive tract becomes inflamed with Crohn’s disease and spreads deep into the tissues. With Ulcerative colitis, a person develops ulcers in the innermost lining of their colon and rectum. Both of these medical conditions cause chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

When there is inflammation in the GI tract, digestion and absorption of nutrients is disrupted. Normally, when bodily tissues are damaged, inflammation takes place to try to protect the body from further harm from bacteria. A person’s immune system with IBD is compromised and unable to react appropriately, therefore causing continuous inflammation which leads to improper functioning of the GI organs. Diarrhea, bleeding from the rectum, stomach cramps, and weight loss are just some of the symptoms IBD brings on.

How Nutrition Plays a Part in IBD

healthy colorful bowl of vegetablesThere is some misconception of how a person’s diet is related to IBD. It is true that some foods may aggravate the symptoms when a flare-up is present, but the foods themselves are not the root cause of IBD. The disease itself is what causes the inflammation.

IBD is not caused by an allergy, a poor diet, being overweight, or be cured by a specific nutritional plan. Each person’s symptoms with IBD vary due to the fact that different parts of their digestive system are affected.

Severe Diarrhea Can Cause Dehydration

One’s body becomes dehydrated when they are having multiple bowel movements throughout the day. This causes the body to not absorb and maintain enough liquids, electrolytes, and nutrition.

Weight Loss due to Lack of Appetite

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease often come with a decreased appetite due to pain and nausea, resulting in malnutrition as they try to manage symptoms of diarrhea and/or vomiting. The body consumes more stored energy because of the inflammation associated with IBD and this leads to tissue breakdown in the body.

Bleeding from the Rectum

Ulcers can form on the inner lining of the intestinal tract as a result of chronic inflammation and can happen anywhere on the tract including the anus and perineum. Tissue can also tear in and around the anus because of continuous or painful bowel movements. Both of these symptoms lead to blood loss.

There is a possible risk of malabsorption of nutrients in a person with IBD and require them to elevate their intake of calories, nutrients, and energy. Lacking enough essential vitamins and minerals is often associated with IBD but there are some options that may be helpful to treat those deficiencies.

Some Options to Help Treat IBD

array of nutritional supplements that can help with inflammatory bowel diseaseOf course, the end goal of IBD is to decrease the amount of inflammation that causes the onset of the symptoms. You should always consult with your doctor first, but certain products can offer nutritional support that may reduce inflammation.

Getting the essential nutrients is key for those that suffer from IBD whether young or old. Children require the right vitamins and minerals to support healthy growth and development. The elderly often need an oral supplement for added protein, fiber, and omega-3 fats to support bone and heart health. When extra calories are needed, there are many formulas such as Boost, Ensure, and Pedialyte to deliver protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fat.

Nutrition can also be improved by a special diet that involves taking in nutrients through a feeding tube. This also allows the bowels to rest to aid in lessening the possibility of pain and trauma in the rectal region. More severe IBD symptoms might be treated by a doctor that delivers nutrients directly to the blood stream through a catheter.

There are many more treatment options available to help reduce the symptoms associated with IBD, but always speak to your doctor about what might be right for your specific needs.

For more information about nutritional products we offer, give us a call to speak to one of our Product Experts. We would be happy to discuss either what your doctor recommends or how we may help you find the products you are looking for.

 

To learn more about Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis, visit these sites:

Living with Crohn’s Disease: https://www.crohnsandcolitis.com/living-with-crohns-uc/crohns

Living with Ulcerative Colitis: https://www.crohnsandcolitis.com/living-with-crohns-uc/ulcerative-colitis

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