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Breakthrough Crohn’s Disease Guide

Discover the Link Between Crohns and Arthritis

Posted in Crohn's Disease on March 13th, 2008

There are three different kinds of arthritis that are common among long-term Crohn’s sufferers, two that affect the spine and a third type that affects large joints, such as the knees.

Arthritis is broadly defined as a group of conditions that affect the joints of the body. It is the leading cause of disability for people over the age of 65. It causes swelling, nagging pain and a reduction in flexibility that can turn into a complete loss of flexibility. In Crohn’s patients, arthritis will be a reality for about 25 percent of sufferers.

In most cases, the arthritis begins to manifest itself after the onset of the other gastrointestinal symptoms, but there have been rare cases where the arthritis actually happens first. What makes this form of arthritis so devastating is that once it has begun, there isn’t any real way to contain it, even if you are able to contain your Crohn’s flare-ups.

The joint-oriented arthritis is the least sinister of the three kinds associated with Crohn’s disease and usually flares up at the same time as the associated symptoms do.

This form of joint arthritis doesn’t normally lead to permanent deformity, but damage to the joints over a long period of time can occur. This form of arthritis targets the elbows, wrists, knees and angles. The arthritis is said to be “migratory”, which means that it moves from joint to joint to joint as time goes by. X-rays and blood tests are common ways to diagnose the existence of this form of arthritis. The best way to treat this condition is with medications and the advice of an experienced doctor.

The first kind of spinal arthritis causes pain and stiffness in the lower spine and the joints in the lower back. Studies have shown that with younger sufferers of Crohn’s, this type of arthritis can show up months or possibly years before the more traditional symptoms. Unlike the joint arthritis, permanent damage to the bones of the spinal column can occur if left untreated, leading to the vertebrae to become fused. This results in a severe loss in the range of motion in the back. Luckily, this form of arthritis tends to ease after age 40.

The final form of arthritis associated with Crohn’s also affects the spine. This rare form (2-3 percent of Crohn’s suffers) not only causes the aching and possible deformity if left untreated in the spine, but also inflammation in the eyes, heart valves and lungs. It’s believed that this form of arthritis is genetic, but there has been little study on the subject.

The best way to treat these forms of arthritis is to treat the gastrointestinal symptoms that are more widely associated with Crohn’s disease. Ending a flare-up isn’t guaranteed to lessen the arthritis symptoms, but it’s the best method doctors have at the moment. Consult your doctor to find out what treatment methods are best for your particular case.

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Dining Out With Crohns Disease

Posted in Crohn's Disease on March 13th, 2008

Just because you have Crohn’s Disease it doesn’t mean that your social life has to end. It is quite likely that you know people with Crohn’s Disease – but you’d never know they had it. If you take steps to manage Crohn’s you can still enjoy eating out. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you dine out.

It is a good idea to have a plan when you are going to eat out. As many Crohn’s sufferers can confirm, unwanted symptoms can rear their ugly head at the drop of a dime. Make sure you have all the basics covered – or at least as many as possible – before you leave the comfort and security of your home.

If you know where you are going out to eat you can check the restaurant menu online for items that you will be able to eat with little worry. Most restaurants have websites that have either their complete menus or at least a sample of the kind of food on offer. If there is no website or the choices don’t offer things you can safely eat, you can always call them.

If you explain about your dietary requirements (you can chose whether you mention Crohn’s specifically) you might be able to pre-order a custom meal. If there is no way the restaurant can help you out, have something to eat at home before you leave and just eat a small, light meal at the restaurant.

When you get to the restaurant it is a good idea that you find out where the restrooms are located. If you have a sudden flare-up it may be necessary for you to make a quick exit to the bathroom. Once you have located the restrooms and chosen something you know should be able to eat without too much trouble you can relax and enjoy your evening.

Crohn’s Disease symptoms can be exacerbated by many foods. Become familiar with foods that irritate you and do your best to avoid them. Most appetizers such as buffalo wings, potato skins, and mozzarella sticks may irritate your digestive tract. In addition, avoid alcoholic drinks whenever possible.

Eating out with Crohn’s Disease does not have to be an ordeal. For many business people, dinner meetings are a regular event. If you have Crohn’s you may not always have the choice of where to eat. This is why having a conscious plan to tackle dining out is important. Remember, even if you are in remission and have been for some time, another flare-up may be right around the corner. Erring on the side of caution is the best idea especially if it’s a restaurant you’ve not been to before.

If you haven’t done so already, you can sign up for your free copy of the free Crohn’s Disease Newsletter - Overflowing with plenty of crohn’s disease and treatment options to help you overcome symptoms. Plus you’ll also discover more information on eating to combat Crohn’s disease symptoms.


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How Food Can Affect Crohns Symptoms

Posted in Crohn's Disease on March 6th, 2008

If you were not aware of it, Crohn’s Disease is an incurable disease believed to develop from an overactive autoimmune response by the body. Put simply, this means that the body’s defenses are basically turning on the body and attacking it. The battle with Crohn’s is fought in the digestive tract, particularly within the colon. Through research and the experience of Crohn’s sufferers, it has been proven that diet plays an important role in the emergence and subsequent control of the disease. A crohns diet can make a big difference.

People living with Crohn’s Disease often have to modify their diets. For many, this can be a real pain in the neck. Foods that you once regularly enjoyed might be now impossible to eat. Having Crohn’s Disease does not mean you have to stop enjoying food, however, you may have to choose carefully what you eat.

The way the body deals with Crohn’s is different for every person. Some may be able to tolerate foods that others cannot. Basically, it takes a trial and error approach. One of the suggestions Crohn’s experts have expressed for those with the disease is to keep a food diary. Keep track of what food you eat on a daily basis and the subsequent reactions of your digestive tract. That way if you notice your Crohn’s symptoms acting up you can pinpoint the food that may have caused it. In the future, you can avoid that food and by process of elimination, find out which foods you can tolerate and the others that you cannot.

There is also a general list of foods to eat and foods to avoid. As stated earlier, this is not a definitive guideline, but the suggestions are appropriate to the majority of people suffering with Crohn’s.

If you have Crohn’s Disease, planning a diet is very important. It is best to eat a balanced diet from the four major food groups. Some of the foods that are generally tolerable for Crohn’s sufferers include fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in fiber.

Furthermore, from eating salmon, tuna and other types of fish, the body can get valuable omega-3 fatty acids, which can also help. Instead of eating massive meals a few times a day, try to eat smaller meals in order to give your digestive tract the leeway to operate without putting it under a lot of pressure. Eat lots of protein, complex carbohydrates, and potassium-rich foods to keep your system in balance. It is also important that you drink lots of water to keep your body hydrated.

Foods that should be usually avoided include those high in fat content, processed food, fast foods, many diary products, sugary products, alcohol and caffeine. Obviously, the healthier the diet your follow, the better it will be for your body to cope with Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s is a fickle disease. It is important that you take an aggressive approach to finding ways to structure your diet so that it does not increase the chances of having flare ups.

Following a crohns diet, exercising, and working to remain stress-free are the best ways to go. Remember you are what you eat – a statement that is even more important when dealing with Crohn’s Disease.

If you haven’t done so already, you can sign up for your free copy of the free Crohn’s Disease Newsletter - Overflowing with plenty of crohn’s disease and treatment options to help you overcome symptoms. Plus you’ll also discover more information following a Crohn’s diet.


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Crohns Disease or Colitis?

Posted in Crohn's Disease on February 28th, 2008

In the realm of disorders that affect the digestive tract there is often some confusion over diagnosing specific conditions. Many of these disorders tend to overlap in terms of symptoms and signs. Since it is often difficult to distinguish one form of irritable bowel disease (IBD) from another, diagnosis is often a time-consuming procedure wrought with the painstaking approach of trial-and-error.

Two forms of IBD that are frequently confused are Crohn’s Disease and colitis. Each of these diseases is strikingly similar in symptomology. Each condition can result in severe diarrhea, extensive episodes of abdominal cramping, loss of energy, fever, reduced appetite, and weight loss. Each of these diseases is caused by tissue inflammation. According to current data up to two million people in the United States have either Crohn’s Disease or colitis.

Crohn’s Disease usually affects the small intestine, however, it can manifest in other places throughout the body including the esophagus, stomach, appendix, anus, duodenum, and large intestine, colitis, on the other hand, strictly affects the colon.

Sufferers of both Crohn’s Disease and colitis experience periods where the respective diseases fade into remission. Each, however, is marked by the tendency to experience sudden flare-ups, which can drastically reduce quality of life. While the physical symptoms are similar, the psychological effects from the diseases also mimic one another. Many sufferers fall into depression and withdraw from social situations due to the fear of sudden flare-ups. Surprisingly, one of the most commonly prescribed medications for Crohn’s and colitis is antidepressants.

Treatment, disregarding the emotional impact of these forms of IBD, is also similar. Drugs are generally the first option. The classes of these drugs include antibiotics, immune suppressants, biologic therapy, immunomodulators, and corticosteroids.

Drugs will not cure either disease. Colitis can be cured, but surgery to remove the colon is required. Since Crohn’s can affect a wider region of the body, surgery can alleviate some of the more severe symptoms, but this does not mean that the disease cannot spring up in other places, thus it remains incurable.

Experts on IBDs recommend similar methods of approaching the maintenance of each disease on a daily basis. Exercise, reducing stress levels, maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding certain foods, taking various vitamins and supplements, and keeping a food diary can all be excellent ways of keeping the diseases in check. With either condition it is important to schedule regular medical check ups to ensure serious damage to the digestive tract is avoided.

If you haven’t done so already, you can sign up for your free copy of the free Crohn’s Disease Newsletter - Overflowing with plenty of crohn’s disease and treatment options to help you overcome symptoms. Plus you’ll also discover more information on the various IBD’s like Crohn’s, Colitis and IBS.

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What Is Crohns Disease?

Posted in Crohn's Disease on January 31st, 2008

Crohn’s disease is a condition that is not totally understood. There seems to be no cause anyone can pinpoint, and there is no cure that has been found as of yet. It is an ailment that is often mistaken for other conditions, and by the time the proper diagnosis is made, it can be at a very troubling stage. Though this is something that is most commonly detected and diagnosed in teenagers, it can happen during any time in adulthood. It is very rare for a child to have Crohn’s.

The basic problem with Crohn’s lies in the digestive system. Though most sufferers find their condition is location in the intestines, some have been known to be in other parts. It is thought to be an auto-immune disease, which means the body is attacking itself for an unknown reason. Inflammation often occurs that leads to a variety of problems. These problems can be helped with medications, diet changes, stress relief, herbal remedies, and other lifestyle changes. Some people believe stress may cause Crohn’s, but that has not been proven, although stress can make a pre-existing condition worse. There are some indications it might be genetic, but even that appears to be randomly occurring.

Some of the symptoms of Crohn’s are often mistaken for Irritable Bowel Syndrome or other digestive disturbances. It is often missed, and not diagnosed properly right away. Sufferers can have diarrhea, vomiting, cramping in the stomach and intestines, blood in the stool, psoriasis, weakness, weight loss, and fatigue. Not all patients have the same symptoms, and the severity will vary from person to person. It is possible for symptoms to go into remission, but as this is a chronic condition the patient should expect flare-ups to reoccur.

In severe cases, the inflammation can cause blockages in the intestines, and can lead to tears and ulcers that will bleed out through the rectum. When the intestines are unable to function, or the food moves through too quickly due to diarrhea, the patient can loss weight rapidly, and may not be able to function in day to day life. When this happens, surgery is usually opted for. Approximately 75 percent of all those with Crohn’s will face surgery at least once in their lifetime. An operation will not be a cure, but it may improve life quality and might also signal the beginning of remission.

When you think of what is Crohn’s disease, you might better think about what Crohn’s disease means for you. This condition is vastly different from patient to patient, and no course of treatment will be the same. If you have parents who have Crohn’s, you may be at risk for it, and you should know what to look for. Though there is no cure, many treatments can help a person life a normal life. Any person with this condition, or the related condition Colitis, should make sure they keep an open line of communication with their doctor, and to keep up with treatment options so that they may feel as good as they possibly can.

Grab your free copy of Sharon Dobson’s brand new Crohn’s Disease Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to understand information to help to you discover exactly what is crohn’s disease, plus ideas and useful tips on what to do if you want to start following crohn’s disease diets, plus other natural remedies.


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Searching for the Cure for Crohns Disease

Posted in Crohn's Disease on January 24th, 2008

If you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, one of the first things you probably asked your doctor was what could be done. Your doctor probably told you right away that the cure for Crohn‘s disease has not yet been found, but research is ongoing. There are many things you can do to help symptoms, but you will have to live with this chronic condition for the rest of your life, or until a cure can be found. Some patients opt to participate in clinical trials to speed up the process of finding not only the cure, but perhaps the cause as well.

Some of the most common clinical trials out there are ones for new medications. Drug companies are coming up with new drugs that might help with symptoms, or ones that might even prove to be a cure. These need to be tried out on humans to gauge effectiveness, and also to find out about the side effects. You might be taking something that can help you, or you may find that you are feeling even more miserable. Many trials include half the patients taking the real drug, and others will be taking a placebo. Due to FDA regulations, you must be aware of the potential risks before you sign up.

Before you sign up for a trial, you should talk through the implications with your doctor. You may not be a good candidate for a trial, and if that is what your doctor says make sure you listen. However, your doctor might think you are a good match, and if this is the case, there are some questions you have to ask yourself and things you have to find out about the trials.

Will you be staying elsewhere or at home? What are the risks? Will you be compensated? Can your family do without you for the duration of the trial if need be? What are your options if something were to go wrong? Once you have all of the answers to these questions, you will have a better idea if you want to continue or not.

Before you make a final decision and have weighed all of your options, you might want to go online to read what others have said about clinical trails. Many have found great relief with some of the drugs they have tried, and have been happy to be included. They feel that they are doing something for themselves and for everyone else. Others haven’t had such positive experiences.

In the end, the final decision is yours, and you should not feel guilty if you don’t want to do it. There are many good reasons not to do so. If you do choose to go through one or more clinical trials, you may be involved in something that might finally be considered the cure for Crohn‘s disease. Even if a cure is not found, you may have helped with a mediation that brings relief to many. That will always be a good feeling.

Grab your free copy of Sharon Dobson’s brand new Crohn’s Disease Newsletter - Overflowing with ideas for easy to implement natural treatments for Crohn’s disease, plus information on why research trials offer hope in the search for a the cure for crohn‘s disease.


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Is Something Triggering Your Crohns Symptoms?

Posted in Crohn's Disease on January 17th, 2008

Someone living with Crohn’s disease might enjoy long periods of remission, only to find that they are suddenly experiencing a flare up. The Crohn’s symptoms that each person will have will vary from person to person, but they all mean the same thing. Inflammation is the root problem with Crohn’s disease, and this can be anywhere in the digestive system, but usually occurs in the intestines. Symptoms indicate that inflammation is ongoing, and treatment might be necessary. There is no known cause for this condition, and some of the triggers that people say bring on flare-ups are highly debated.

Some believe that bacteria build up in the system is one of the triggers for Crohn’s flare-ups. There is always a certain amount of bacteria in the system, and this is something that everyone has. It’s thought that certain foods might trigger an overabundance of bacteria and that leads to the inflammation getting worse. This then triggers symptoms to appear. Many believe one troubling bacterium is found in milk and milk products. Though eliminating milk might eliminate the trigger, Crohn’s flare-ups will probably continue after the initial reaction. There are other foods that some consider triggers as well.

Stress can also be a trigger for Crohn’s flare-ups in some people. There has been no evidence that stress can cause this condition, but it might indeed be a trigger. Stress is known to weaken the immune system, and since Crohn’s is considered to be an autoimmune problem, you can see where this might lead to a problem. You should make sure you are living as stress free as possible and that you do all you can to learn how to reduce stress in your life. This can be accomplished by getting rid of your most stressful activities, if possible, and finding time in your day to take up things like Yoga and breathing techniques to reduce some of the stress you are feeling day to day.

There are other triggers that are being researched, and might very well be behind flare-ups of Crohn’s inflammation. Some say that even though antibiotics are needed to treat Crohn’s, they can also cause inflammation, citing NSAIDs (i.e. ibuprofen) as example. Many believe that smoking is also a trigger. This is yet another good reason to quit. This is one of the most promising things you can eliminate when it comes to possible environmental trigger for flare-ups.

Though defined triggers for Crohn’s symptoms have yet to be discovered, there is some promising research that says there may be a defective gene that can cause Crohn’s in some people. The Mayo Clinic reports that though this is something that they are researching, they have no found a way to counteract this, but they do hope it will prove to be an arm of research that helps with establishing a cure in the future. Though the science behind triggers is not perfect, it may indeed lead to more helpful treatments in the future leading to easier management of crohn’s symptoms.

Grab your free copy of Sharon Dobson’s brand new Crohn’s Disease Newsletter - Overflowing with ideas for easy to implement natural cures for Crohn’s disease, plus information covering ways to recognize your crohn’s symptom triggers.


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Botanical Crohns Treatments

Posted in Crohn's Disease on January 10th, 2008

A diagnosis of Crohn’s disease is often met with mixed feelings. Though a patient may be happy to finally know what is going on with their body, they may feel sad that they are going to have to deal with it for the rest of their lives. Knowing what is wrong is half of the battle though, as this means that effective treatments to lessen the symptoms of Crohn’s can begin. There are drugs you can try, as well as surgical procedures in some cases. However, there are some who want to try acupuncture, and they may do so in conjunction with some botanical Crohns treatments.

Medications may not provide the total answer when it comes to treating and preventing crohn’s disease. This happens because each case of Crohn’s is different, and each person will react to the medications in a different way. Some sufferers have more severe symptoms, while others have periods of relief at random times with no help what-so-ever. When you have more severe symptoms, you may want to try botanicals and herbs as a way to alleviate what medications cannot touch, and others with less severe issues might want to by-pass the medications completely if they are able to do so.

The problem with botanical Crohns treatments is that they are hit and miss, and they can cause problems you may not have considered. It is never recommended that you start such a treatment without telling your doctor.

One of the biggest problems is that the herbs used can mix with medications you are taking. These can react when mixed and can be dangerous. You should never mix anything, even items labeled as natural, with your medications without talking to a doctor before you begin.

If you have discussed this with your doctor and they have cleared you to try botanical Crohns treatments, there are a few different ones you can try. One popular remedy is peppermint. You will probably have already tried this remedy and not realized the significance of it.

Think about eating out and the restaurants that offer you a peppermint candy after your meal. Why do they do this? It’s because peppermint settles the stomach. However, it’s not as simple as eating candy. Taking enteric-coated peppermint capsules will allow the peppermint to bypass the stomach and be released directly in the intestines where it can get to work quickly. Or try drinking peppermint tea.

Chamomile is another natural remedy you can try, and this usually comes in the form of tea.

Two other common herbs you can try are aloe vera, usually in the form of juice, and also slippery elm bark. You may also find green tea to be helpful, plus cranesbill, licorice, and witch hazel. Be sure to talk to your doctor first.

Many people can avoid serious problems by making sure they ask advice. Your doctor should always be your main source of information when it comes to your health. Not all herbs are regulated, and the quality of such products can easily be called into question. Remember that not all treatments are instant, and you may have to try these botanical crohns treatments for a few weeks or more before you notice any difference, and you can then decide if you want to continue to use them.

You can sign up for your free copy of Sharon Dobson’s up to the minute Crohn’s Disease Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement ideas to help you identify if botanical crohns treatments are right for you. Plus you’ll also discover more information on Crohn’s disease symptoms and related complications.

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Crohns Disease and Treatment Options

Posted in Crohn's Disease on January 3rd, 2008

Most people who are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease will find out between the ages of 15 and 25. It is less common, but older adults can be diagnosed as well. The problem with Crohn’s is that it is often found only after a process of elimination. This chronic condition is different for everyone, and there can be long periods of remission for many patients. When the condition flares up, however, many patients need to know about Crohn’s disease and treatment options. There are times when things will settle down on their own, but more commonly intervention is required.

The symptoms of Crohn’s can come and go. There are times when you might have to take medications. These medications are often aimed reducing the inflammation along the digestive tract that occurs with Crohn’s.

When the inflammation is under control, many of the symptoms can be greatly reduced. If an infection were to occur, antibiotics are given to help get rid of it. Sometimes other medications can help, and there may be times when the doctor will ask a patient to take vitamin supplements when nutritional intake and absorption is impaired.

There are specific treatment options that help when diarrhea and cramping is present. A patient might not be getting what they need because the intestines are not absorbing nutrition from foods. There are some that believe there are foods that make the symptoms of Crohn’s worse, and by getting these foods out of the diet the patient can feel better. Because nutritional deficiencies are very common for people with Crohn’s, it is always a good idea to talk to your doctor first before you start removing foods from your diet. They may want to give you supplements to make up for what you might be losing.

There are times when the treatment needed is surgical. A doctor will try to avoid surgery by treating a patient with medications and recommending lifestyle alterations, but that is not always going to be enough.

When fissures form in the intestines, there can be bleeding from the rectum. That might requires surgery. Fistulas can form when there is an abscess in the intestine. These are tunnel-like openings that go out into the body to attach to other organs or other parts of the body. These can spread infection, and many times an operation is required to close them and repair the damage caused.

Make sure you weigh all of your options when you are talking to your doctor about your Crohn s disease and treatment. There are other routes you can try that might help in the long run such as stress relief and some herbal remedies.

Open communication is very important, and it is also a great idea to feel totally comfortable with your doctor. You want to have the freedom to ask questions, and to discuss your crohn s disease and treatments that might be best for you in your particular case. It’s also important to have a doctor to refer to during periods of remission. If you receive adequate care while in remission, you can help lengthen the time between flare ups.

You can sign up for your free copy of Sharon Dobson’s up to the minute Crohn’s Disease Newsletter - Overflowing with plenty of crohn’s disease and treatment options to help you overcome symptoms. Plus you’ll also discover more information on Crohn’s disease symptoms and related complications.

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Do You Know What Crohns Disease Is?

Posted in Crohn's Disease on December 27th, 2007

There are many times when Crohn’s disease is mistaken for other conditions, and this is because the symptoms tend to mimic other common types of less severe irritable bowel disorders.

There are many people who suffer with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but sometimes people are misdiagnosed with IBS when they really have Crohn’s. They don’t know until things get worse and there seems to be no end in sight to the troublesome symptoms.

Crohn’s disease can be genetic, but the underlying cause has not been established, and neither has a cure been found. You can manage the symptoms, but that is about the best you can do at this time.

Crohn’s disease is inflammation along the intestinal tract. Some of the common symptoms of Crohn’s are vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, pain in the abdomen, bleeding from the rectum, and weight loss. There can also be other related problems like psoriasis or problems with other systems of the body.

There are times when this chronic condition can go into remission, and a person with Crohn’s can feel really good during these times. However, remission generally doesn’t last, and a patient can expect to have flare ups. Some of these have the potential to be very serious in nature.

Medications can often be used to help with the inflammation that comes with Crohn’s. However, medication will not cure Crohn’s, but it can lessen many of the symptoms. If blockage of the intestines occurs, or bleeding from the rectum begins, there may be a need for surgery. In some cases, the rectum and the colon must be removed, but doctors will do all they can to avoid this.

There are other methods that can help manage the symptoms of Crohn’s. There are advocates of following special crohn’s diets such as the Specific Carb Diet. This can help relieve the symptoms caused by foods. This means a patient must give up a lot of different foods, but they may find it to be worth it if it works.  You can read more about Crohn’s disease and diet here: http://natural-crohns-disease-relief.com/blog/2007/12/13/whats-the-best-crohns-diet/

Some like to turn to herbal remedies, and different types of stress relief. Though stress is not a cause, it can make symptoms flare up in some patients. Others like to try acupuncture through the traditional means of needles, or by a chiropractor using pressure on specific points on the body.

One of the most crucial things a person with Crohn’s has to know is that they need to follow what their doctor says. It is very important that patient and doctor have an open relationship so that a good course of treatment can be found.

Crohn’s disease is a challenging condition, and no two people will have the same outcome, and the same symptoms. Treatment will be different for everyone, and how each person feels each day will vary. Many patients can have long periods of remission, and many learn to control the impacts of the disease, and can have a great quality of life. It may take some time, but it is possible.

You can sign up for your free copy of Sharon Dobson’s up to the minute Crohn’s Disease Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement ideas to help you identify if crohn’s disease is behind the symptoms you’re experiencing. Plus you’ll also discover more information on Crohn’s disease symptoms and related complications.

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