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How to Reduce Inflammation Caused by Crohn's Disease

Updated on November 24, 2016
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Randi was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at age 15. In spite of her numerous surgeries, she has taken a strong proactive stance on healing.

The digestive system
The digestive system | Source

Crohn's Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. It can affect the digestive system anywhere from the mouth to the rectum but is predominantly in the intestines. One of the primary causes of Crohn's is when the immune system has an abnormal response to normal bacteria in the intestine.

How was Crohn's Disease discovered?

Before it was called Crohn's Disease, it fell into the catagory of all inflammatory bowel diseases, There were distinct differences but not enough was known about it. Dr. Burrill Bernard Crohn was the man who discovered the bacteria that caused Crohn's disease. To resd more about him, follow this link#mce_temp_url#

Less common symptoms:

  1. Mouth sores
  2. Bowel blockages
  3. Fissures (anal tears)
  4. Fistulas (openings between organs)

Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

Common Symptoms:

  1. Stomach pain
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Sometimes bloody stools
  4. Weight loss

Tests used to Diagnose Crohn's Disease

  • Barium x-ray of the small/large intestine
  • Colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy
  • Stool Analysis

Your doctor may not do all of the above tests. He/she will do what is necessary to determine if you have Crohn's Disease or a different condition so that you can begin treatment..

What can cause a Flare-up in Crohn's Disease?

There are many different factors that can cause your Crohn's Disease to flare-up. Hormonal changes, smoking and infections can cause flare-ups and inflammation. Another big factor is diet. Remember, Crohn's Disease affects the digestive system, so it is important to eat the correct foods to maintain it.

Taking Control of your Crohn's Disease

Crohn's Disease is a very pervasive condition. It can take you over and hold you captive. Don't let that happen. This is your body. You can take control by being proactive. Talk to your doctor. There are many different types of treatment for Crohn's Disease. You and your doctor will determine what is best for you, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

There is a wealth of resources out there!

What to Eat with IBD: A Comprehensive Nutrition and Recipe Guide for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
What to Eat with IBD: A Comprehensive Nutrition and Recipe Guide for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Diet control has been my personal best friend. While I am still a true believer of trial and error on a person to person basis, this book provides excellent recommendations and food choices.


Keeping the Inflammation Down

Diet and exercise are key factors in keeping your Crohn's at bay. You may also be taking medication prescribed by your doctor but a good diet is important. Crohn's disease makes it hard to absorb nutrients, so a diet high in protein and calories can help you get the nutrients you need. If your health insurance and/or budget allow, I recommend a visit to a nutritionist.

Inflammation in Crohn's Disease

When you are having a flare-up of Crohn's disease, your intestines become inflamed. This inflammation can be the cause of diarhea, bloating, tenderness and stomach pain. Depending on the severity of the flare-up and the progression of your disease, these flare-ups can be anywhere from mild and temporary up to severe and constant. If you learn to maintain a proper diet consistently, you may lessen the amount of flare-ups, as well as have an easier time should another one occur.

The inflammation from Crohn's Disease can cause tenderness in the belly

A tender stomach will probably be your first sign of Crohn's Disease
A tender stomach will probably be your first sign of Crohn's Disease | Source

Suggested Diet for Sufferers of Crohn's Disease

Just like with medicine, everyone is individual and your doctor or nutritionist may recommend something different. This is a general guideline on foods that are typically good for people with Crohn's Disease, as well as foods to avoid. Typically, it is best to stick to a low-residue, low-fiber diet. By doing this, you will relieve the occurrence of bloating, cramping and diarrhea. Sometimes, finding the foods that work best for you will be trial and error. You may want to keep a food diary so that you will know if certain foods are causing irritation. You will probably want to eat about five small meals instead of three larger ones.

What to eat to alleviate inflammation in Crohn's Disease and what to avoid.

Foods that will help reduce inflammation
Foods that can cause irritation
Dairy products that are low in lactose.
raw fruits
Lean meats, fish and poultry.
Cooked fruits and vegetables without seeds, skin or hulls.
Drink plenty of water. Hydration is essential.
Foods that are high in calories and proteins
Nutrients are absorbed through the intestines. Many patients with Crohn's Disease also take vitamin supplements.

Organisations and Support for Crohn's Disease

Crohn's Disease can be Managed

I recommend that you maintain a communicative relationship with your doctor. Seek out support groups. I have been living with Crohn's Disease for 40 years. I have been able to maintain an active lifestyle and can eat and do what I want (most of the time!) With the right information and resources, you should be able to also!

© 2013 Randi Benlulu


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    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Good information. My friend's wife suffers from Crohns. I'll send her the link.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great information Randi! I might have mentioned that I had never heard of this disease until I had a student four years ago with it. It is quite painful and I now have a new awareness about it.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, WillStarr! It's not a fun disease! I hoope she is feeling good.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Bill. It was the hardest for me when I was in high school. I hope your student is doing well and has the disease under control.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Very thorough explanation, Randi, of Crohn's Disease, which should be helpful for many sufferers.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      You detailed this well. My best friend's husband has Crohn's Disease and has had quite a hard time most of his life with it. He just seems to be one who has been hit hard by it. He follows the diet restrictions and takes prescribed meds but without warning he still gets serious flare ups.

      This info will be helpful to others I am sure.

      Sending Angels to you today :) ps

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Randi,

      This is a thoughtful and meaningful piece that will help so many who read, especially inspirational as you are detailing strategies that have been personally helpful for you.

      Wonderful work...Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, drbj! I hope it helps!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Patricia! I can relate to your friend's husband. I also had that problem. After a couple of resections, I decided to remove it all and get an ostomy. My quality of life has been much better and the flare ups way fewer and far between. I wish him only the best and send all of you healing angels!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ are too sweet! Thank you so much for your warm comments and votes!

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 4 years ago from Florida

      btrbell..well researched and very informative..thank you for addressing this condition as there are many who go undiagnosed..aside from drugs,,there are many alternative treatments..anti-inflammatory spice such as Turmeric,( in mustard) which contains Curcumin, keeps gastro-intestinal from getting inflammed ( purchse from drugstore) also Pineapple in any form contains Bromelain ( key enzyme) Omega -3 rebuilds internal areas/body cells..also mind -body approach ,yoga,meditation,Hypontheraphy, relaxation and prayers..acupuncture and Green Tea ( which also rids infection)....

      many physicians are opting for all natural these days..thank you again for sharing..awesome hub...voted up and sharing..enjoy your week-end..

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      kj! Thank you so much for your very useful additions! If I had my way, all doctors would have a mind-health component! Luckily I have been able to find doctors who do! I appreciate your stopping by, voting and sharing! You have a great weekend, as well!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great info, good to see you included foods to help with this. It must really be horrible I can imagine. Voting up and sharing. May help many.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago

      btrbell, very nice hub that you have written here. i feel that i have to share this since it hits so close to home. when i was younger, the doctors didn't know what was wrong with me. they thought i had crohn's disease or lyme's disease. i was quite frightened when they told me what it was. long story short i ended up having lupus. the tips and techniques in your article are still quite useful and informative. thank you so much. shared and voted up.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      I work with a woman who has Crohn's disease. She has had a rough time managing it. I will share your article with her. Thanks for sharing.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this important story my righteous ravishing Randi - it's a disease I've never heard of before until I met my good buddy at work many years ago and both he and his wife are afflicted with it. Imagine that - both husband 'and' wife.

      I am naturally sending you good thoughts from a rather damp mid winter's day here by the lake of erie in Canada - from Colin and his pussycats of reknown. lake erie time 2:24pm

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      We sure have a lot in common, Randi. This is one thing I wish neither of us experienced. I was diagnosed with Lupus shortly after I had my daughter. My grandmother who was a proponent for healthy foods and supplements long before it became fashionable, (she owned a health food store in Barstow) told me about CoQ10, which I took religiously. I am not certain if it was the supplement or my youth, but my disease remained mild. As I got older, I developed more symptoms, as my disease is now determined mixed connective tissue disease and it is vascular. The Crohn's like syndrome came upon me when I arrived at the ER when my father had a grave stroke at his brainstem, which he died from within 24-hours. The stress of seeing my dad in a coma, with no hope of recovery, sent me running for a bathroom...for 10 years now. The significant inflammation at my jejunum was only discovered after every other test showed nothing wrong, but the PillCam showed massive inflammation. I have been on Pentasa now for years. I lost 35 lbs in about 2 months (I wasn't overweight to begin with). Since my layoff, I have been able to attain the expensive ($600 per month without insurance) drug free of charge via Shire Pharmaceutical, which has stabilized my unpredictable condition. Although I still have bad days, I am able to have a life outside the bathroom. The various testing I've have revealed that I am not only lactose intolerant, but have a gluten sensitivity. Because malabsorption is part of this disease, I have had severe osteoporosis since my mid-30's. Diet is difficult for me, as I don't eat meat and dairy/soy is out. I refuse to completely give up Greek yogurt, but enjoy it on a limited basis when I know I will be home. This disease is very humiliating and leaves its victims stressed and anxious by it's very nature. I feel very fortunate, however, as my symptoms remain 'just that' rather than the diagnosis of Crohns, which often necessitates multiple surgeries or steroids for remission.

      Thank you for sharing your personal, first-hand experiences and vital information on living with a very debilitating disease, Randi. I hope you continue to do well. For many reasons, but esp the noroviruses, stay off the cruise ships!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Jackie! Truth be told, I spent many years food deprived and I am so happy that we have made so great strides to improve the situation! Thank you so much for the votes and sharing!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      torrilynne, thank you so much for reading and sharing your experience. Auto immune diseases are not fun. I hope you are doing ok and feeling good! All the best to you!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, donnah. I do hpe your co-worker is doing ok and feeling good!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Colin! It's always a pleasure to see you here. Crazy both husband and wife! I hope they are both feeling better

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Great job seems Crohns like so many other intestinal ailments are being diagnosed more and more which is a good thing. Knowing what you have gives you the ability to cope and adjust your lifestyle. You've written a great hub with lots of good ideas and suggestions. I have Celiac so I am well aware of what a Crohns sufferer goes through and how helpful proper diet can be.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I've been way behind reading your work, Randi. This is such an important article about the facts of Crohns disease and how to manage it. I'm so impressed that you've lived such a full life with this for 40 yrs! It can be so debilitating. Well done and I find the diet table extremely helpful. Two thumbs up and across/sharing.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Ah, Mary! Celiac is such a tough one. I used to complain about my limited diet till I learned about yours. Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences. And your votes, too! O hope you are feeling well.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Denise! I have also been way behind, reading and writing! Who knew February would be so busy?! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I hope all is well in your world! :)

    • mr-veg profile image

      mr-veg 4 years ago from Colorado United States

      Great Article Randi ~~ Yesterday only was talking with my friend and he said that he has been diagnosed with crohns disease :( .... I will pass on the information to him !! Thanks !

    • healthwealthmusic profile image

      Ruth R. Martin 4 years ago from Everywhere Online ~ Fingerlakes ~ Upstate New York

      I am not that familiar with Crohn's but know someone who has it. It definitely sounds painful, but it is good to know that you can manage it by following the proper diet, etc. Thanks for sharing :)

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, mr-veg! I hope your friend is doing ok!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      This is so very interesting Randi and of course so useful.

      I am sure many will benefit.

      I vote up and share.

      Enjoy your day.


    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Eddy! I hope so! Have a great day!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      healthwealthmusic, Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your encouraging comments! Much appreciated!

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Oh, poor, poor Amy:( What a rough time of it you've had! I can so relate and am so sorry that you have been having such a rough time. It is not fun. My doctor's actually prescribe greek yogurt and I eat one a day religiously. It helps restore balance in the digestive system and I have been taking a bit less medication in the year since I have been doing this. It did take a bit for my body to acclimate to it. You are much as I love all that you and I seem to have in common, I wish we didn't have this to share. I hope you are feeling good.

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