This article was written by Deanna Mixon, self-care and lifestyle influencer and NOWINCLUDED community member
Living with Crohn’s disease can be a constant struggle, especially when experiencing a flare-up. As someone who has been living with Crohn’s for years, I understand the importance of managing the symptoms when experiencing a flare. Here, I will take you through a day in the life: Crohn’s flare-up edition and share some tips and tricks for managing the symptoms.
First, I want to give a brief description of the symptoms I experience during a Crohn’s flare-up. They can include severe stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and loss of appetite. It can be challenging to manage these symptoms while trying to maintain daily life activities, but there are some things I do to help myself get through the day. Let’s go!
When a flare-up occurs, the first thing I do is reach for my medication – nausea medication, to be exact. Once I feel it coming on, I like to beat it to the punch sometimes. I call that move “GOTCHA.” Now, it won’t cure the rest of the flare. But trust me, you do not want to experience vomiting and diarrhea at the same time. Let’s just say it’s not fun and very draining. It is essential that I always have my prescribed medication nearby, so I can quickly access it when needed. Speaking of essentials, I also keep incontinence briefs nearby as well. When having diarrhea during flare-ups, sometimes it can be very uncontrollable. At first, I was embarrassed. But now, they come in cute colors and are so comfortable. So, a win is a win.
It’s also important that I have a proper nutrition plan in place during flare-up days. Certain foods can trigger flare-ups, so it’s best to avoid them. Instead, I focus on foods that are easily digestible, like soup, crackers, bananas, rice, and toast. It’s funny because now, my son enjoys soup. But only when mommy is having a flare. My soup is his soup. I also make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. So I always try to drink fluids with electrolytes as well. Want to know a secret? Aloe Vera juice! I promise you, it is the holy grail during a Crohn’s flare-up. It’s so much of a holy grail that it’s literally my family’s first response when I tell them I am having a flare-up. It’s a must that I always get the berry flavor, and the berry flavor only. If you know, you know.
During Crohn’s flare-ups, it is key to learn to manage pain and discomfort. I typically just lay down and curl into a ball and rock myself back and forth. I’m not sure about the science behind it, but I’ve done it since I was diagnosed, and it helps. But I also use heating pads or hot water bottles, which helps to ease inflammation. Additionally, a warm bath or shower can help to soothe sore muscles and reduce stress. I really try to listen to my body and do as little as I can. So, when a Crohn’s flare-up comes up, I communicate with my family so that someone can assist me through the day, especially with my son.
During my last really bad flare-up, I finally told my son that mommy had Crohn’s and I was dealing with a flare. He’s only two, so I assumed he probably didn’t know what I was talking about. Until I was in the bathroom vomiting one day and my son came in, patted me on the back, and stayed at the door until I was done. It was at that moment I knew he understood something was wrong. So, please communicate not only to your family, but to your children as well.
Another essential aspect of managing flare-up symptoms from home is getting enough rest. When I am experiencing a flare-up, I make sure that I am at home, or go to the nearest bed. During a flare-up, it’s easy to become fatigued and experience reduced energy levels. It’s important to listen to your body’s signals and give yourself enough time to rest. I try to take breaks and nap whenever possible.
Finally, I also make sure to track my symptoms regularly. I don’t always call my doctor when each flare-up occurs, especially if my treatment window is coming up. But I always keep a journal with me to write down what I am experiencing. Tracking symptoms can help identify patterns and triggers, which is extremely helpful when discussing treatment options with doctors or specialists. It helps them help you.
In conclusion, living with Crohn’s disease can be challenging and unpredictable. However, with the support of healthcare professionals, a support system, and modern technology, managing the disease has become easier and more convenient. Getting my treatment medication at home from my nurses when it’s treatment day has been a lifesaver. Especially on my flare-up days. It allows me to avoid possible triggers for a flare-up, such as stress and exposure to germs, and stay in the comfort of my own home. The treatment may not be a cure, but it has been a game-changer for my quality of life. I hope that sharing a flare-up experience can help others with Crohn’s disease feel more empowered and supported in their journey. Remember, you’re not alone, and there are always resources available to help you manage your symptoms and thrive.
You can continue to follow my journey on my Instagram. Until the next flare.