For most, stomach troubles are an occasional issue that causes short-term discomfort when a virus or bacterial infection is involved. But, for over 1.5 million others, their digestive struggles are far more severe. In fact, for those who are living with the condition known as inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, painful flare-ups of the disease can be a life-long struggle with the ability to impact nearly every facet of day-to-day life.
Fortunately, IBD doesn’t have to mean drastically altering one’s lifestyle or the activities they most enjoy. It simply means that there will be additional preparation needed and some key changes to help manage the onset of symptoms and help keep them at bay.
Eat an IBD Focused Diet
Nutrition is a vital component in all aspects of health, particularly when it comes to managing IBD. Each individual will respond uniquely to different foods, and there is no one-size-fits-all diet to ease IBD. However, most patients will find certain foods that tend to aggravate symptoms and that avoiding them helps keep issues such as cramping or diarrhea in check. Partnering with a good nutritionist can help patients get a jump start on managing IBD through diet.
Avoid Exacerbating IBD through Stress
Stress does far more than affect the emotions and mental state of wellbeing, it can take a large toll physically as well. Just consider for a moment a time when you have felt particularly anxious about something. Can you feel the sensation of your stomach in knots? When you already have IBD to contend with, stress can be yet another factor worsening the symptoms. To help keep them under control, learn and practice calming techniques like meditation or deep breathing and consider speaking to a professional for additional methods that may prove helpful.
Quit Smoking to Improve IBD
Research has uncovered an interesting link between smoking and IBD, particularly in the form of Crohn’s disease. Findings have shown that smokers are more likely to suffer from Crohn’s than non-smokers, are more likely to relapse, and that treatment options are less effective. Of course, there are countless health-related reasons to kick the smoking habit, but for those who also suffer from IBD, quitting could make a significant difference in the condition and its impact.
Find an IBD Specialist You Trust
Perhaps the most important factor in effectively managing IBD is finding a specialist in whom you have complete confidence. A good physician will do more than simply write a prescription. He or she will be your partner in managing your medications, lifestyle, nutrition, and all other elements which may impact your disease. They will align their treatment plan with other medical professionals who may also be able to help in order to give their patients the best possible outcome. To find this physician, consider speaking with other local IBD patients about their own doctors and what they like most about them.
If you are ready to get your condition under control, contact a GI Alliance clinic and request an appointment with a gastroenterologist today.