Living with Crohn’s & Colitis
While both Crohn’s and Colitis present their own challenges and complications, it is still possible to live a full, rewarding, happy, and productive life. While every patient is different and no one experiences symptoms exactly the same, everyone can find a combination of medical treatments and behaviors to get the most out of life.
But living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is about more than just medical treatment, so while it’s important to Find the Right Doctor, maintaining your health is also about making the right choices, building a network of supportive friends and loved ones, connecting with a community of peers who share your condition, and balancing the demands of your health with financial reality.
To help you make the right choices, the Foundation has launched I'll Be Determined, an interactive journey that guides you through making better choices when it comes to treatment, diet, complications, and other obstacles along the road of life.
Diet Considerations for Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and other forms of IBD
While your diet is not a cause of your disease and changing your diet will not cure you, paying special attention to your diet can help reduce and control your IBD symptoms.
One of the best ways to begin understanding how your diet affects your condition is to start keeping a Food Diary. By recording what you eat every time you eat and also the symptoms you experience as a result can help you identify foods that may cause distress and then limit or eliminate them from your diet.
Although Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are not the result of food allergies, many patients and doctors recommend a few simple suggestions to help control symptoms during flare ups:
- Eat smaller meals at more frequent intervals
- Reduce the amount of greasy or fried foods in your diet
- Limit consumption of milk or milk products
- Restrict your intake of certain high-fiber foods such as nuts, seeds, corn, and popcorn
While Crohn’s and Colitis are both evolving conditions and the symptoms you experience may change over time, understanding how different foods affect your digestive system can better prepare you to manage your condition and its effects on your life.
Family and Care Givers
Caregivers play a vital role in the lives of patients and families. While many people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can continue to engage in their daily activities such as cooking, laundry, and housecleaning, some may have difficulty staying on top of everything. Getting help with these essential tasks can make a huge difference in patient's lives. Caregivers, including a spouse, parent, neighbor and others can contribute to a patient's well-being and play a significant role as a part of their healthcare team. One organization that can assist patients and caregivers is Lotsa Helping Hands. Lotsa Helping Hands provides a free service that helps caregivers organize a web-based community of family, friends and others to help out during times of need. To learn more about what this organization has to offer, visit Lotsa Helping Hands.
Connecting with Our Community
Many people find comfort and camaraderie among a community of peers. Both Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis have strong support communities made up of people who have the disease, their family and loved ones, and doctors and caregivers.
We encourage you to Connect with our IBD Community where you can meet people just like you, share your stories, join discussions, find answers to your questions, and discover new ideas and resources to improve your quality of life.
In addition to building life-long friendships with other Crohn’s and Colitis patients and families, you may wish to Get Involved. We’re always looking for new members, volunteers, and donors committed to helping provide hope and inspire action.
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation provides resources to help defray medical costs through financial assistance programs. The Foundation has partnered with NeedyMeds, a national nonprofit organization that helps to streamline information and resources related to financial assistance for a variety of healthcare needs, including Crohn’s and Colitis.
NeedyMeds Crohn's and Colitis Resource Page includes lists of financial resources to help pay formedication and other forms of treatment, free clinics and programs that provide other types of financial assistance including co-pay assistance specifically for the IBD patient population. Visit NeedyMeds Crohn's and Colitis Resource Page to learn how you can benefit from financial assistance.