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Crohn's Disease

Updated on November 19, 2017
Image by Snakesmum
Image by Snakesmum

Living With Crohn's Disease

Having recently been diagnosed (tentatively) with Crohn's Disease, it's something I'm pretty interested in at the moment. Hopefully this article will help others who have also been diagnosed with this problem.

I'll be writing this more like a diary of living with Crohn's than an information source - there are already plenty of those sites on the web, and a quick search will find you many of them.

If you have concerns about your health, please see a Medical Practitioner.

The Start Of The Problem

.......a painful interlude.

One day, out at a party, I developed a very painful stomach ache. It felt like wind, and I was also constipated. We had to leave the party and go home, because the cramps were so bad. In the car going home, I was jack-knifing with pain. When I got home, I had about three bouts of diarrhoea, and that seemed to ease the problem, so I put it down to something I'd eaten, and thought nothing else of it.

A couple of months later, after eating lunch one day, the same thing happened, only this time it didn't stop after a couple of hours; it continued for the rest of the day, and all night. At some time during the first afternoon, blood started to appear.

My partner was willing to drive me to hospital during the night, but I decided to wait until morning, and duly turned up at the local hospital emergency department at 0830.

I hadn't had anything to eat or drink except a cup of tea, since the night before, as I felt a bit shocky and nauseous, so was just sipping water occasionally. While being interviewed by the triage nurse, I was told, very abruptly, "Nothing to eat or drink!", so I went thirsty.

Several doctors and tests later, on a drip and still with nothing to drink, at 530 that afternoon, I was finally admitted to hospital, where I stayed for five days, much to my surprise. I'd thought I'd get perhaps a little medication and be sent home. They took it a little more seriously than that.

Hospital beds, by Tomasz Sienicki.
Hospital beds, by Tomasz Sienicki. | Source

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Doctor & Patient,
Doctor & Patient, | Source

Further Crohn's Developments

.......Getting diagnosed.

After five days in hospital, and many tests later, they discharged me with antibiotics and a couple of appointments with outpatients. One of these was for a colonoscopy - not the most pleasant of procedures, especially the few days prior, when you have to watch your diet, and take special medications. The medications also make one frequently dash to the smallest room in the house, and develop soreness in an unnamed place. This part is much worse than the colonoscopy itself!

After the colonoscopy, it was a matter of waiting for the appointment to find out what the problem was. They offered two options, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease, which is the nastier of the two options, and towards which they were leaning. I saw the pictures of my intestines, and believe me, it wasn't pretty!

The next thing to happen was a long wait for an appointment with a gastro-enterologist, to get more information, and to find out what treatment was available.

Of course, I did a lot of research, as this was and is a problem which won't go away, so I'll obviously have to live with it. Maybe diet will play a part, but that's something I've yet to discover.

I think l was a bit shocked by it all, as it seems that this problem usually is diagnosed at about 20 - 30 y.o. and I'm a lot more than that! Anyway, whatever the outcome, it's here to stay, it seems......

No Appointment Available

......see your GP if you have problems

Well, the heading says it all - I received a letter from the hospital, informing me that there was a twelve months waiting list to see a gastro-enterologist, so if I needed help or antibiotics, see my GP.

Hopefully, I won't need to, but since I still haven't been diagnosed with certainty, I'm left wondering what I've actually got. Could be Crohn's Disease, or it could be Ulcerative Colitis, or maybe something else?

Whatever it is, I will have to live with it, and do more research on diet and how not to exacerbate it. Certainly I don't want to spend any more time in hospital, as it is not a good place to be, no matter how nice the staff are.

Image of the bowel.
Image of the bowel.

All Quiet On The Crohn's Front

....... thankfully !

The Crohn's kept pretty quiet for the next few weeks, and I had no problems to speak of.

The more I find out about this disease, the less I want to be diagnosed with it. Guess I'm lucky, really, as it seems to be pretty mild in my case: so far only two severe attacks, although the second did put me in hospital for five days...... not a pleasant time.

It has come upon me in my 60's so I may well be luckier than those who get this disease in their twenties, or even as children. The eventual outcome may even be a colostomy bag - not a great prospect, I must say, although this wouldn't happen until after a couple or more bowel operations, if they ever become necessary.

At this point, I'm just trying to live as normal a life as possible, and find out which foods, if any, exacerbate the problem, so that I can avoid them.

What do you avoid? Are there some foods that you love, but just can't eat any more? Let me know in the comments, please.

Carrot Juice.
Carrot Juice. | Source

Carrot Juice and Hospital Outpatients

About a month ago, an acquaintance who's interested in natural therapies told me to drink carrot juice. Unfortunately, I didn't ask how much, so have been guessing.

Currently I'm drinking about 250 mls per day, and have been for the past few weeks. It may be coincidence, but so far, so good, although the past few days, there have been rumblings again. Could it be because I got a bit slack about the daily carrot juice?

As I've mentioned before, it's difficult to get an appointment at the hospital with a gasto-enterologist, and I was told it was a twelve month waiting list, but it's only been about four months since I was told that. Surprisingly, yesterday I received a letter from the hospital, letting me know I have an appointment in a couple of months!

Perhaps I'll finally be given some advice on living with this.......

Hospital waiting room.
Hospital waiting room. | Source

Waiting Rooms Are No Fun

.....The hospital visit.

The time for the hospital appointment finally arrived, so off I went to arrive on time at the outpatients department. I know they don't always run on time, but if you're there on-time, or even a little early, your file will be ahead of those who came late. That's my reasoning, anyway.

After a fairly short wait, I went in for the much awaited doctor's appointment.

Well, I started off with a very pleasant medical student, who asked the usual questions about consent, etc. (It is a teaching hospital, after all) I had no objections so she started to take the history. Before we'd finished in came the Doctor, who seemed surprised the student hadn't finished the history.

Well, to cut it short, I didn't learn a thing I didn't already know, and it was a complete waste of time, in my opinion. If it's so hard to get an appointment, and there is such a long waiting list, why not give the appointments to those who really need them?

Currently, I'm not having much of a problem with the Crohn's so someone else may well have been able to have that appointment. Now I have to go back in January for another checkup, and quite frankly, I don't see the point. Perhaps someone with more experience of this disease can enlighten me? :-) I actually cancelled the next appointment, and haven't been back.

I'm So Lucky....

.....It could be a lot worse.

Shortly after my hospital visit, while watching a current affairs program on TV, I saw a story about a child of about ten, who had been born with problems, and had operation after operation. To cap it all off, he had just been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. What a horrible prospect, and he was so happy and positive, helping others.

This really made me think that I am very lucky, even though I have this problem. As I'm in my sixties, it's highly unlikely the Crohn's will progress to the stage of a colostomy bag in my lifetime, even if it does get bad enough to require a bowel resection.

I guess what I'm really saying is that no matter how bad things look, there is always someone worse off than you.

And the disease is still staying away! Hopefully it will do so for a long, long time. I certainly don't miss it!

If you have Crohn's, please try to be positive - maybe it will go into remission for months, or even years. Live with it, change your diet, do whatever you can to have a normal life, and enjoy yourself NOW.

Banana.
Banana. | Source

Oh No, Not Again!

After a couple of years of relative inactivity, the Crohn's struck again.

We'd had dinner and were just relaxing with our new cat, sitting watching TV when the pains started. After that, it was trip after trip to the bathroom. Not that much sleep for either of us.

This particular attack was one of the worst I've had, as I started to bleed again. We decided to go to the local hospital, and see what they said, and hoped we'd get antibiotics and I could come home.

No way! The hospital was bed-locked, and the only people getting into the emergency room were those with broken bones, and problems which they could treat and send home straight away. Since I might have had to stay there, I didn't get called.

Not being a very patient sort of person, after three hours of sitting on the most uncomfortable seats in the world, I decided to go home, since I was feeling better, and the pains and bleeding had eased.

It turned out ok, after watching my diet for a few days, and sticking to soft foods and liquids. Bananas are good for you, and are great in this situation. How I'd love to get rid of this problem!

Photo Credit

Curry
Curry

Oh No - It's Back !

......And it's all my fault!

After months of comparitive quiet on the Crohn's front, this week I've been having pains again, and the usual other symptoms associated with the disease. I'm sure I don't need to go into them here, for fellow sufferers! :-)

It's all my fault too. This week I decided to cook a curry for dinner, but unfortunately, was a little too heavy handed with the curry powder. Although it tasted beautiful, the results were anything but that.

There was even a meal left over for the freezer, but when that gets eaten, it will be somewhat weaker, since I'll be adding more vegetables to it.

Hopefully, these symptoms will go away in a couple of days, and it won't lead to a full scale attack - I have to go to a wedding on Saturday.

Photo Credit

Mashed Potatoes.
Mashed Potatoes. | Source

No, Not Another Attack!

After the curry disaster, I was pretty careful with my diet for a while, so the Crohn's once again went into remission, and I haven't had any symptoms for quite a few months now.

Just as I was beginning to feel safe, it has decided to make a re-appearance. This time, there doesn't seem to be a reason, unless it's the stress of the Xmas holiday season.

Of course, the worst of the pains has to be at night, when I'm trying to sleep, but at least it hasn't become so bad that I don't get any. Hopefully, it will stay that way.

At the moment, I'm eating very bland foods, and avoiding acidic drinks, and anything else that could possibly add to the problem. The diet is boring, but it's better than another stay in hospital, that's for sure. Mashed potato is a current staple food.

Rumblings Within

.....Oh No, Not Again. When the rumblings start, I wonder what I've eaten this time to set them off. Hopefully, I'm learning to avoid attacks, and there are some foods which I've learned to avoid. Here are some of them:

  • Licorice
  • Curry
  • Acidic foods
  • Alcohol
  • Too much pastry

It doesn't take much to upset chancy tummies, does it? I should know better by now. Guess it's because nothing much has happened recently, and I became complacent. Not a good thing.

Oh well, at least I didn't eat half a packet of liquorice allsorts this time. Now that really gave me an uncomfortable day, but I do love liquorice.... guess it's among those things I'll have to cut down on from now on. :-)

Suitcase
Suitcase | Source

Travelling With Crohn's

A Few Tips

Every had to go on a trip, and had that sinking feeling? You know, "Oh, I can't do that, what if I have an attack?" It's a common reaction to our problem, but don't let Crohn's rule your life.

Later this year, I'll be going on my first overseas trip since being diagnosed, so I'm doing some planning now. Here are some tips I've come up with:

  • Take your medication with you
  • Some anti diarrhoea tablets such as Immodium are a must
  • If you get stressed travelling, see your Doctor and get some mild relaxants
  • Take some pantipads with you, even if you don't normally use them
  • Watch your diet, don't try anything too exotic which may affect you

And most importantly, Enjoy your trip!

A New Treatment

......Article from The Lancet

My partner mentioned on one occasion that he'd seen something on TV about a new treatment for Crohn's Disease. I hadn't heard about it, so did a search.

This is the site I came up with - it's a little too scientific and technical for me, but hey, I'm only a lay person! If you're interested, here's the URL of the article.

New Therapies And Medications For Crohn's Disease

Anything which gives hope of relief from this problem is to be welcomed, that's for sure.

Herbs
Herbs | Source

Naturopathic Remedy

This may help IBS and Crohn's sufferers ;

Recently I started using Glucosamine as an aide to a problem in my shoulder, and decided to do some research on this supplement. After all, one does need to know what's going into one's body! :-)

Discovered that Glucosamine is an additive to many health products which are sold as IBS treatments. It is useful in adding a lining to the intestine. I'm going to try Glucosamine and Fish Oil combined, as that may ease the constipation side of the Crohn's.

The dosage isn't all that high either, and it's found naturally in the body, mostly in the joints and cartilidge. That means it probably won't have much in the way of side effects, but check that one out for yourself, as I'm no expert here.

Anyway, just though I'd add that snippet of information to this lens, in case it may be helpful to some of you.

Note: Since I wrote this, Glucosamine has been somewhat discredited, but I've left this in the article for interest.

Crohn's Comments, Please

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    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Thanks for putting this info into a lens, Snakesmum. It's good knowledge to have. I didn't realize just how much different foods could impact the disease. I hope some of the newer treatments will help you. Bless you!

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 3 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @jasonlovesgreen: Yes, exercise and diet play a big part in controlling Crohn's. Rich and spicy foods are a no-no, and I love rich, sweet things! Glad your wife is medication free - so am I at present.

    • jasonlovesgreen profile image

      jasonlovesgreen 3 years ago

      Powerful. Thank you so much for sharing. My wife has Crohn's and it changed everything for us. She had to relearn how to eat. We think her Crohn's was onset by stress and bad diet. I often deployed and have a dangerous job. She stressed, as you can imagine. It's been a few years now and she usually is medication free as long as she eats healthy and exercises. She started a blog about her recipes and other healthy living techniques at FollowMeg.com. I'll tell her to check out this lens. I'm glad I discovered Squidoo.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @BrightDaysAhead: Yes, these are diseases which can interfere with your life, but do not show, which can cause problems. Hope your daughter doesn't suffer too much from the U.C.

    • profile image

      BrightDaysAhead 4 years ago

      Thank you for stopping by and "liking" my lens!

      Also, thank you for sharing this very informative lens about Crohn's Disease. My daughter suffers from Ulcerative Colitis (which is similar, but affects the lower intestines), and because they are both one of the diseases that no one can see from the outside, most people don't realize what's actually going on on the inside until they read information on these particular auto-immune diseases, such as what you've shared on your lens, so this is VERY much appreciated! :)

    • renewedfaith2day profile image

      renewedfaith2day 4 years ago

      Thank you. My mother has this and it is hard to watch her suffer sometimes. I should send her a link to this.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @RetireAt57: No seeds? Oh dear, and I love sesame seed rolls and orange and poppy seed muffins. Hadn't heard that coconut cookies helped. Thanks for you comment and visit.

    • profile image

      RetireAt57 4 years ago

      My daughter has crohns. Coconut cookies help also. But watch your diet - no seeds

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @rattie lm: That's an interesting page, and I'll check it out further, for sure. Thanks.

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      http://robbwolf.com/blog/2012/11/12/crohns-relief-... You may find this link helpful. Hope so.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @choosehappy: You're right there - months of being ok, weeks of pain and problems, and you never know when it's going to happen! Thanks for visiting and for your blessing.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 4 years ago

      Well what I have read here sounds very familiar, but never have been diagnosed with Crohn's but have had Colitis...I get food poisoning quite easily and know your PAIN, I have been in Emergency more then once...wow I could not live where there is a waiting list to get to a doctor or Hospital visit...that is unbelievable!

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      I have a cousin with Chron's---he had such a terrible time through his teen years. Doing much better now, but it's a roller coaster ride for sure.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @delia-delia: It happens because the hospitals are underfunded! Thanks for your visit, and take care with what you eat........

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @VspaBotanicals: Glad your sister is now able to enjoy life again. I've been very lucky, as it seems to be still in remission, after a few years. They can certainly do more for it today.

      Thanks for your visit and squidlike.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 4 years ago

      My baby sister suffered and I do mean suffered for years with Crohns Disease. I helped raise her, which made us much more than just sisters, (like my child). Many days and nights I prayed and cried for her to find a cure, or at least live more comfortably with this disease. She went through many procedures and then surgery, and now she's at a point in her life, where she can enjoy herself again. Back when she was diagnosed, not much could be done about it, but it's different nowadays. I hope everyone suffering or not finds this lens.

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @LynetteBell: It isn't very pleasant. Fortunately, mine seems to have gone into remission, which is great! Hopefully the same will happen for your friends.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 4 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I have a couple of friends with the disease

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 6 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @nuestraherencia: Thanks for visiting. Hope you and your son are doing ok. I'm very lucky in that the Crohn's seems to be in remission, and no problems for quite a while now.

      Cheers, Jean

    • nuestraherencia profile image

      nuestraherencia 6 years ago

      I had heard of Crohn's disease on the news, but didn't know much about it. I have lots of stomach issues, so did my son when he was younger. I have to say that probiotics have helped our entire family greatly. Not sure about Crohn's, but if it's any help, check out Science Daily for more information. I read it everyday for my son's autism issues, my MRSA, etc...it's been great information and all backed up with great studies. I hope you are able to find something that works for you that is natural and doesn't cause other issues. That was our biggest problem with our son's stomach issues. Great lens and great resources here!

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 7 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      @anonymous: Crohn's isn't curable as far as I know, but there are spontaneous remissions. No-one seems to know how or why this happens, from what I've been able to discover.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Need someone to try this Possible cure for Crohns

      See my lens at:

      http://www.squidoo.com/cure-crohns

      or:

      Cure for Crohns

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Is Crohn's Disease curable?

    • Snakesmum profile image
      Author

      Jean DAndrea 8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      [in reply to eyoule] Thanks Eric. I think I have a mild version, although flare ups can happen any time. Wouldn't wish it on anyone! :-)

    • profile image

      eyoule 8 years ago

      Hi Sorry to hear about the Crohn's disease. One of my work colleagues suffered with the disease for most of her life. Hope that your's proves either a faulse alarm or a mild instance.

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      Well, I hope that you have been feeling better lately.

      Crohn's disease seems to be a horrible one.

    • The Homeopath profile image

      The Homeopath 9 years ago

      Best of luck to you. My Grandmother has been living with Crohn's for many years now and I know how difficult it can be.