Flare-ups are a sudden source of fiery pain for people living with Crohn’s. They can inflame you from stem to stern with:
- canker sores
- abdominal cramps
- rectal pain
- joint pain
Some of the most common triggers for a flare-up include:
- consuming food or drink that upsets the stomach
- smoking tobacco
- disruptions or changes in medication
Calming a flare-up
Nonprescription remedies for Crohn’s flare-ups range from topical solutions to oral medicines.
Because flare-up attacks can be unpredictable, it’s a good idea to pack a portable supply kit. This can include items such as:
- antibacterial cleanser
- antiseptic mouthwash
- protective ointment
- nonprescription anti-inflammatory and antidiarrheal medications
- disposable wipes
Here are some other things to use in the event of a Crohn’s flare-up:
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol): If your doctor approves, use this medication to relive pain. Also, ask for other alternative pain management recommendations too.
- Anti-diarrheal medications: Under the guidance of your doctor, control bouts of diarrhea with medications such as loperamide (Imodium) or bismuth (Pepto-Bismol).
- Soothing moist towelette: Soothe anal irritation with a moist towelette rather than toilet paper, which can feel abrasive to tender skin.
- Vitamin-enriched ointments: Use these for relief from anal itching.
- Sitz baths: Soak in warm salt water to relieve anal fissure or fistula soreness.
- Hand-held showerhead with a mild perianal cleanser: Use these to wash your anal area thoroughly.
- Medicinal mouthwash: Rinse and gargle with it to dilute the pain caused by canker sore ulcers.
- Moist heat: Use moist heat to alleviate joint discomfort and then set aside time for rest.
- Physical therapy: Therapists can show you range-of-motion maneuvers to help relieve hurting joints.
Preventative safety measures
There are preventative safety measures to keep in place to ensure that you stay healthy and strong. Every day, remember to exercise and get a good night’s sleep. Be sure to eat a nutritious balanced diet and consider taking a multivitamin. Also, make sure to listen to your doctor and take your prescribed medications regularly. Even if you have no symptoms, missing a dose can lead to a flare-up.
Don’t start smoking, but if you already are, take steps to quit. Smoking ignites flare-ups, which can lead to serious tissue damage and even cancer.
Start a log to track your flare-ups by date and rate their level of intensity. You should also log your symptoms as well as what relief actions you took. Give a copy to your doctor to add to your file of medical records and reserve another copy for emergency room visits.
While going through a flare-up can be troubling, your dedicated efforts will go a long way toward lessening your stress levels and the frequency of your flare-ups.