There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Crohn’s disease. However, some management methods for stomach pain may include medication, specific diets, and stress reduction.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects your digestive tract. Stomach pain, cramps, and bloating are some of the most common gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms of the condition.
According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, GI symptoms may have several causes, including:
- gut inflammation
- strictures, which is a narrowing of the intestines
- stomach ulcers
- small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- eating certain foods
Treating and managing Crohn’s disease doesn’t involve a one-size-fits-all approach. You’ll likely need to try out different solutions to find what works best for you.
Keep reading to learn more about how to manage stomach pain if you’re living with Crohn’s disease.
Some foods and beverages may be responsible for your stomach pain. These are sometimes called trigger foods, as they may cause periods where your symptoms worsen, or flare up.
Below is a table of foods to avoid and foods to eat if you’re experiencing Crohn’s symptoms, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.
|Foods to avoid
|Foods to eat
|• foods high in lactose, such as dairy products
• fatty foods
• high fiber foods, such as broccoli, beans, popcorn, and nuts
• raw fruits and vegetables
• fried, greasy, or spicy foods
• added sugars
• foods high in fat
|• dry toast
• nut butters
It’s important to note that food affects everyone differently. What may be tolerable for you may cause symptoms in someone else, and vice-versa.
Keeping a food journal can help you identify foods that may be causing stomach pain. If you notice a pattern where a particular food or beverage triggers symptoms, try removing it from your diet.
Eating 5 to 6 small, more frequent meals throughout the day may also help ensure you get enough nutrients and calories without putting unnecessary strain on your stomach.
Several over-the-counter (OTC) medications may help reduce GI symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as diarrhea, gas, and bloating. These may include:
- loperamide (Imodium A-D)
- bismuth-subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)
- psyllium (Metamucil)
- methylcellulose (Citrucel)
- hyoscine butylbromide (Buscopan)
If these OTC medications don’t help alleviate your stomach pain, speak with a healthcare professional about pain relievers. They may recommend taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) because it’s less likely to cause stomach pain.
It’s important that you don’t take aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for your stomach pain, such as ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). Although these help decrease inflammation, they could cause stomach pain and, in some cases, stomach ulcers.
Before taking any OTC medications, speak with a healthcare professional. Your symptoms may suggest a worsening of your inflammation, so a doctor may want to make a change to your prescription medication.
Certain herbal remedies may help calm your stomach, including:
These may work by providing anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, or immunomodulatory effects inside your digestive tract. Most of these herbs can be found in tea, capsule, or powder form.
However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to fully support the effectiveness of these herbs in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Herbs and herbal teas may also have side effects, and some interact with others.
Speak with a healthcare professional before starting to take any herbs or supplements. They could advise you on the best preparation method and how much to take.
Stress has been
Some stress-relieving techniques may include:
- doing exercise, such as yoga, running, or walking
- writing in a journal
- doing tai chi
- trying deep breathing exercises
You can set aside a specific time each day to practice these techniques.
- reducing inflammation in your gut
- slowing down the activity and progression of the disease
- boosting your immune system
- reducing fatigue
If you’re new to exercise, speak with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise program. They could help develop an exercise plan that’s right for you.
Your doctor will ask you about your stomach pains and other symptoms you may be experiencing.
Be honest with them about your symptoms and remember to bring your food and symptom diary if your stomach pain is triggered by foods. This will help them modify or develop the best treatment plan for you.
Some treatment options for Crohn’s disease may include:
- lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking (if you smoke)
- oral medications, such as corticosteroids, aminosalicylates, immunosuppressants, and antibacterials
- injection medications, such as biologics
Remember to discuss all treatment options with your doctor. Write down your new treatment plan and ask them any questions you may have.
What is the best pain relief for Crohn’s disease?
The best pain relief for Crohn’s disease depends on several factors, such as the type and severity of your symptoms. Pain relief options may include OTC medications, natural remedies, or prescription medications like antidepressants, antispasmodics, anti-inflammatories, NSAIDs, and opioids.
How do you get rid of a Crohn’s flare-up?
Some ways to help you get rid of a Crohn’s flare-up include avoiding trigger foods, exercising, reducing stress, taking OTC pain relievers, and trying herbal remedies.
What foods calm Crohn’s disease?
Eating foods that are low in fiber and high in protein may help you stay full and well-nourished during a Crohn’s flare-up. These may include eggs, chicken, tofu, white bread, bananas, some nut butters, and yogurt, among others. If you notice that a particular food triggers symptoms, remove it from your diet.
What drinks are good for Crohn’s disease?
Water is the best drink for Crohn’s disease. However, other beneficial drinks may include broths, smoothies, and oral rehydration solutions.
Stomach pain like cramps, bloating, and gas are common symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
Your treatment plan may include a combination of remedies, such as OTC medications, herbal remedies, and avoiding certain foods.
That said, speak with a healthcare professional if your symptoms don’t improve. They could provide a proper diagnosis for your stomach pain and help re-evaluate your treatment plan.