WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Crohn's disease is a long-term disease of the gastrointestinal (GI) system. This system may also be called the digestive system. The GI system includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and anus (rear end). Crohn's disease causes the lining of the intestines to become reddened, swollen, or bleed. With Crohn's disease, you may have abdominal (stomach) pain or blood in your bowel movements (BMs) that can cause anemia (low blood iron). Children with Crohn's disease may grow more slowly and not get as tall as other children. You may have a fever, loose BMs, or lose weight without trying.
Caregivers do not exactly know what causes Crohn's disease. Possible causes are a weakened immune system or having a family member with the disease. Smoking may increase your risk of having Crohn's disease. Treatment for Crohn's disease may include medicine, diet changes, or surgery.
Take your medicine as directed.
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:
For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.
- Record in a diary the number of bowel movements (BMs) you have each day and describe the color and form (liquid, soft, or hard). Write in your diary if you saw blood in your BM. Bring the diary with you when see your caregiver.
- Write down all the food that you eat for a period of time. This may show you what foods cause your symptoms to worsen. If you think a food makes you feel worse, do not eat the food for a while to learn if your symptoms go away. Do not stop eating a certain food unless it has bothered you more than once.
Your symptoms may be worse with dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and cream-based sauces. Hot spices and foods that contain fiber such as prepared cereals, whole-wheat bread, and some raw vegetables also may cause worsening symptoms. Do not drink liquids that contain alcohol, such as beer, wine, and whiskey as these drinks may worsen your symptoms. Keep a record of everything you eat for a period of time. Also keep a diary of your symptoms, and when they occur. This information will help you and your caregivers decide what diet is best for you.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have a fever.
- You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- The pain in your abdomen does not go away or gets worse after taking your medicine.
- Your abdomen is swollen or is getting larger.
- Your losing weight without trying.
- You have questions or concerns about Crohn's disease, your treatment, or medicine.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have trouble breathing all of a sudden.
- You have vomited blood or your vomit looks like coffee grounds.
- You have a fast heart rate, fast breathing, or are too dizzy to stand up.
- You have severe pain in your stomach.
- You have tar-colored (black) BMs or you see blood in your BMs
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.