Making Positive Changes in Your Life When You Have Crohn’s Disease

As of this writing, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, but medication is available that can induce long-term remission, which can allow you to live a fairly normal lifestyle.

On the other hand, medication is not the only thing that you should rely on. Long-term remission means that the disorder can be triggered. To make sure that this doesn’t happen, try making some positive changes in your lifestyle. This allows you to take charge and avoid letting this condition get the best of you. 

The following are a few ways that you can make some positive changes in your life when you have Crohn’s disease:

Learn More About the Disease

Educating yourself about Crohn’s disease is one of the major ways in which you can start to bring about a positive change in your life. If you don’t understand Crohn’s, you might unwittingly believe many of the myths and misconceptions about the condition, which can negatively impact how you deal with it. 

You can find plenty of resources from your doctors or find the right sources online that can shed more light on this illness and how you can live a happier and healthier life on a day-to-day basis. It also allows you to understand the different symptoms you might experience. No two cases of Crohn’s are alike and your symptoms might differ from the ones showcased by others. Knowing this fact will allow you to be more hopeful.

Similarly, each year, as medical technology advances, new medications and new treatment methods are being explored. While Crohn’s disease is incurable, there is hope that in the future, certain medications or therapies will be introduced that can guarantee complete recovery instead of just long-term remission. 

Monitoring Your Diet

Apple with tape measure around it




Since your gut can get irritated with Crohn’s disease, you need to pay attention to your diet. The many symptoms that one experiences with this condition can cause dehydration, malnutrition, and even loss of appetite. A good idea is to make sure you are eating high-protein foods. Opt for smaller serving sizes as well as items that are easier to digest. 

Your physician will assign a diet for you as well as a list of supplements that you should consume. In many cases, Crohn’s disease can also cause a major vitamin and mineral deficiency so you could be lacking vitamin B12, C, folic acid, calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. These are essential for your body.

It’s also a good idea to keep a food diary so that you can see which foods your body reacts positively to. Despite the recommendations provided, there can be instances when Crohn’s disease makes your body react badly to a certain food item. Note down the ones that cause inflammation or trigger other symptoms. 

Attend a Support Group

Woman holding hands with others

Getting Crohn’s disease might make you feel bleak, isolated, or unhappy, but this a condition that afflicts over 780,000 people in the US alone. This means that you can easily find a support group of people who understand what it feels like to have a chronic condition that you must live with. A support group is necessary because one of the major symptoms of Crohn’s disease is depression.

It can also be extremely difficult for someone to try and assimilate themselves with the condition. By getting into a support group, you can ensure that you don’t fall into a depressive state. Stress and anxiety can all contribute to causing inflammation and worsening your condition. Another important reason why you need to have a support group is to process your anger.

Many Crohn’s patients are angry at the condition and the way the world perceives people with Crohn’s disease. Despite being such a prevalent disorder, there are still so many misconceptions about it that it can be hard to handle the ignorance shown by others. In times like these, someone with Crohn’s disorder must take a step back and talk to their support group or a therapist about it.

Don’t Let the Good Days Fool You

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can fluctuate from person to person and from day to day. Some days, you might experience no symptoms while other days, you might feel like you are experiencing all of them at once. It is necessary to remember that regardless of the good days, you stick to your treatment plan. Treatment plans are designed to ease inflammation, nourish your body, and ensure that you experience remission.

However, even when it goes into remission, if care is not taken, the condition can flare up again. If you are experiencing remission, you should continue to follow the treatment plan until your physician tells you that it is fine to stop or switch to a new one. In this manner, you can ensure that you can experience a long-term remission. If you stop your treatment plan prematurely, you ruin your chances of this happening and might trigger your condition again.

Be consistent and you will be able to live your life with a semblance of normalcy as well. Many people with Crohn’s lead a full life so be patient as well. Once you are in remission, you can be as carefree as they are too. Never stop your treatment because you think it is not working. Always consult your physician and work with them to get a customized treatment plan. Just like no two Crohn’s disease symptoms are the same, similarly, no two treatment plans will be the same. 

Positive Results From Phase 3 Stelara Trial for Crohn’s Disease

Data from Phase 3 of the UNITI-2 study showed that treatment with Stelara, from Johnson & Johnson, successfully induced clinical response and remission in patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease.

Patients who participated had previously failed conventional therapy and those treated with Stelara demonstrated higher rates of clinical response at week 6 compared with placebo. Stelara is currently approved to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis and active psoriatic arthritis, but it is believed that the cytokines the therapy targets play a role in immune-mediated diseases, such as Crohn’s disease.

“Findings from this Phase 3 program provide an important first look into the efficacy and safety of Stelara induction therapy in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease—a disease where new therapeutic options are needed as the incidence continues to rise globally,” Brian Feagan, MD, professor of medicine, chief executive officer, and senior medical director at Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, and study investigator, said in a statement.

Participants in the trial received either a single intravenous infusion of placebo or Stelara 130 mg or 6 mg/kg (weight-tiered dosing). At week 6, 52% of Stelara 130 mg and 56% receiving the weight-tiered dosing had a reduction from baseline in the Crohn’s Disease Activity Index score of at least 100 points compared with 29% on the placebo.

The study also found that patients dosed with Stelara had significant improvements in signs and symptoms, in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire, and markers of inflammation.

Adverse events and infections reported occurred in similar proportions across the Stelara and placebo groups and no malignancies, deaths, opportunistic infections, cases of tuberculosis, or major adverse cardiovascular events were observed in Stelara patients.

“The Stelara Phase 3 UNITI-2 induction results are important findings, as induction of clinical response and clinical remission are important goals in the management of Crohn’s disease,” Newman Yeilding, MD, head of Immunology Development at Janssen Research & Development, LLC, said.

Research Finds Fungus Associated With Crohn’s Disease

Researchers have a new understanding of why some people develop Crohn’s disease: fungi.

A study led by researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine has found that fungus is a key factor in the development of Crohn’s disease. Previous studies have shown that bacteria, genes, and diet all play factors in causing Crohn’s disease. The findings were published in mBio.

“Essentially, patients with Crohn’s have abnormal immune responses to these bacteria, which inhabit the intestines of all people,” senior author Mahmoud A Ghannoum, PhD, professor and director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, said in a statement. “While most researchers focus their investigations on these bacteria, few have examined the role of fungi, which are also present in everyone’s intestines.”

The researchers studied the mycobiome and bacteriome of patients with Crohn’s and in their first-degree relatives who did not have Crohn’s, plus families in the area that did not have Crohn’s. The researchers found strong fungal-bacterial interactions in those with Crohn’s disease. The 2 bacteria and 1 fungus found worked together to produce a biofilm that can cause the inflammation the leads to Crohn’s symptoms.

This study represents the first time fungus has been linked to Crohn’s disease in humans. Dr. Ghannoum believes that the findings may lead to a new generation of treatments that can make a real difference in the lives of people with Crohn’s.

Less than a week after the findings were released, the Food and Drug Administration approved another treatment for Crohn’s disease: Stelara. The drug is approved to treat moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease in adults who failed or were intolerant to treatment with immunomodulators or corticosteroids.

“Because of the individual nature of these diseases, what works for one patient may not work for another. That is why it is so critical that our Crohn’s patients have many different treatment options available to them,” Michael Osso, president and CEO of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, said in a statement.

He added that with Stelara approved, many patients with moderate-to-severe Crohn’s disease who have exhausted available treatments have another option to hopefully induce remission, help manage their disease, and improve their quality of life.