Living with an inflammatory bowel disease involves repeatedly going through periods of flare and remission. While there are several ways to manage the diseases and keep them in remission for longer, there are also a number of things that can worsen the conditions. Unfortunately, some of those practices are more common than we think. Therefore, we deemed it necessary to highlight them.
Here are some of the common mistakes people with IBD make that worsen their condition:
1. Skipping Medications in Remission
One of the biggest reasons IBD patients struggle to keep their disease in remission for longer is that they often start skipping their medicines once the disease is in remission. This is the worst you could do to yourself. Always take your medications as prescribed, even if you do not have any symptoms. If you feel you no longer need a drug or it’s not working for you, talk to your doctor; never stop taking medicine yourself.
2. Not Eating Right
While there is no specific diet plan for IBD patients, certain foods are known to trigger their symptoms. These include spicy, high-fiber, high-fat foods, raw fruits and veggies, dairy, alcohol, and carbonated beverages.
The trigger foods may also vary for different patients. Therefore, it’s important to keep a food diary. Identify what foods cause you discomfort and avoid them.
3. Too Much Coffee
Coffee isn’t a no-no for IBD patients. But, it needs to be taken in a limited quantity because too much caffeine can lead to gut issues.
4. Not Enough Water
The importance of drinking more water is no secret. But, it becomes all the more important when you have IBD and going through a flare-up. Diarrhea is a common IBD symptom, and it puts you at a high risk of dehydration. So, make sure you’re drinking enough water, especially during bouts of diarrhea.
Did you know that smoking has been identified as an environmental risk factor for inflammatory bowel disease? It is known to increase one’s risk of developing Crohn’s and can also worsen general IBD symptoms for all patients. If you haven’t given up smoking yet, you’re paving the way for the disease to worsen and symptoms to become severe. A research study published in Frontier in Immunology stated that smoking could increase the risk for inadequate response to treatment, hospitalization, and surgeries in Crohn’s patients.
6. Holding off on Doctor’s Appointment
IBD is a lifelong condition, and you have to work with a healthcare professional to keep it under control. While every IBD patient knows this, it’s common for them to skip their doctor’s appointments when the disease is in remission. Moreover, many even hold off seeing their doctors when the symptoms begin to arise. The reason they often give for it is that they wanted to see if the symptoms were severe enough, or they felt the symptoms might go away on their own.
Don’t do this. Consult your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms to prevent them from getting worse.
The Final Word
Whether you have Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis, your condition requires developing a thorough lifestyle plan in consultation with a healthcare professional and following it religiously even when you’re in remission. This will help you live a normal – healthy and happy – life despite the chronic condition. Else, you’ll be sick, tired, and frustrated all the time.