Since being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, I’ve experienced quite a number of flare-ups. Some lasted a very short time, and others felt like they went on forever. Unfortunately, it’s something that I have become quite used to, but it’s during those flare-ups I’ve learned what helps and what doesn’t. I’ve learned that even just a few simple things can make all the difference. Also, I am in no way a health specialist, nutritionist, nurse or doctor, I’m just sharing a few of the things that help me to feel so much better, if my Crohn’s has decided to have a not-so-good day and I’m experiencing a flare-up.
“Crohn’s Disease is one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The other main form of IBD is a condition known as Ulcerative Colitis. Crohn’s is sometimes described as a chronic condition. This means that it is ongoing and life-long, although you may have periods of good health (remission) as well as times when symptoms are more active (relapses or flare-ups). In many people the disease runs a benign course with few flare-ups, while other people may have more severe disease.” Crohns & Colitis UK.
Over the years it’s definitely been trial and error when it comes to trying different things that may help during a flare-up. As each person’s body is different, some things may help some people, whereas some things may not. I’ve especially found that getting to know my body, listening to it and making a note each time during a flare-up, are things that help. It’s a journey I’m still on now, but it just makes a flare-up that bit more bearable and means I can do things that I know will help. Click here to read 5 Things Crohn’s Disease has Taught Me.
1. A warm relaxing bath or shower
From very early on, I’ve found that a warm bath or shower for me personally helps a lot. And I mean a lot! A warm bath or shower can do wonders for the body. I find them soothing and relaxing, especially on the parts of the body that are experiencing pain. The thing with Crohn’s is that it can sometimes cause other problems, and I can sometimes be in discomfort and pain. I’ve found it to be super-helpful for haemorrhoids.
One thing that I have been popping in the bath with me, is some lavender essential oil. Not only does the bath smell amazing, but lavender oil has some amazing health benefits. It’s reported that it can help you if you are feeling stressed, it soothes and relaxes, it’s believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can help you to sleep better, along with many other things. I’ve also been looking at other essential oils too. I definitely recommend checking out Neal’s Yard Remedies Complete Wellness book, especially if, like me, you’re very interested in natural remedies to help your health. It’s very fascinating and full of such good stuff!
Another thing I love to do while I’m in the bath relaxing, is to listen to music or a podcast. It can help to take my mind off the flare-up and helps me to relax that little bit more. It’s also a great way to catch up on podcasts if you’re busy throughout the day.
2. A hot water bottle
Probably the most simple of things, but a hot water bottle for me is a must during a flare-up. I usually place my hot water bottle over the area of my stomach that is the most uncomfortable, sit or lie back and relax. The warmth of the bottle helps to soothe and ease aches, pains, cramps and back pain, helps with inflammation, helps me to sleep better, and keeps me feeling warm. I have a little one that I keep next to me, it’s just the right size to place across my stomach, and it’s a very travel friendly size too. I do love a soft fluffy one!
Did you know that I have a monthly newsletter called Little Notes of Light?
Little Notes of Light will bring inspiration, reflection and encouragement straight to your inbox each month. To subscribe, scroll down to the bottom of this page, or you can sign up by clicking here.
3. Watching what I eat (Low fibre diet, food diary)
Now, this can be a tricky one, for as I mentioned above, some things can be trial and error, and I personally feel that food can be one of those things. Also, as each person’s body is different, food that may be OK for some people, may not necessarily be OK for me. A great way of checking this is by using a food diary, not just to see what foods may not agree with your stomach, but to see if a certain food may have triggered/contributed to a flare-up. A food diary is also a great way to note down the foods that you find you are fine with. I remember at the start when I was first diagnosed, I kept a food diary, and it’s definitely helpful. It’s helped me to become much more aware of what food I put into my stomach. I’ve also found that I’m OK with certain foods, but not necessarily with different brands. It’s good to check the ingredients that different brands put into their food.
A fun fact is that when I finally got my diagnosis and was put on the correct medication, I was able to start reintroducing food that I had stopped having, such as dairy, wheat and gluten, because what I thought was foods upsetting my stomach, was actually Crohn’s. I think for this especially, a food diary comes in very handy. I think a highlight was definitely being able to have Dairy Milk chocolate again!
After being diagnosed I was put straight onto a low fibre diet. This probably isn’t for everyone and it wasn’t something that I needed to keep on doing, but it has helped me during flare-ups, while symptoms have been quite bad. I found egg on toast (white bread) to be great, and also vegetables (cooked until soft and skin peeled off) such as potatoes, carrots and parsnips with some fish (I usually stick to mackerel). Also, white rice and pasta is good. I definitely recommend researching the low fibre diet if it’s something you feel you would like to try. I personally tend to stay away from spicy food, too many beans, certain vegetables and fruit, some cereal and certain takeaway food.
Like I mentioned above, looking at natural remedies is something I’ve also been looking into more, especially those I can add to my meals. You wouldn’t believe the amount of health benefits and healing properties that herbs have! Just giving Neal’s Yard another shout out here, the NYR Healing Herbs book is filled full of all the different herbs you can get that have amazing health benefits and healing properties. It’s so interesting and fascinating to see all the herbs that have been used for centuries to help and heal. Herbs are quite easy to grow yourself at home, and they make meals that bit more tasty, whilst filling them full of goodness. Just throwing this in here, herbal and fruit teas are especially a favourite of mine (they’ve helped me a lot over the years.)
Even though this is last on my list, it’s probably the one thing I do first. For me, rest is an essential when having a flare-up. I’ve tried to power on through when it’s been quite bad, and my body definitely didn’t thank me the next day! Even if it’s just for 30 minutes, taking that time out to rest can make all the difference. Plus, having a rest is a great time to get that hot water bottle out! Plus, just think of all the things you can do whilst having a rest: listen to music, podcasts, spend some time reading, writing, catching up on things that still allow you to rest, these are all the things I love to do when resting. It’s also a great way to unwind. Resting helps to boost your mood, helps your mind, helps a tired and aching body, and also helps your body to heal and help your immune system.
Also a quick tip, if you have the YouVersion Bible app, if you go on to the videos section, you’ll find YouVersion Rest, where you can listen to Psalms being read, with calming sounds and music in the background. This is one of my favourite things to listen to when resting, along with praying and reading my Bible. There’s nothing like God’s peace and strength, especially when going through tough times.
I would love to know what things help you when going through a flare-up?
[This post contains affiliate links]
If you have enjoyed this post and any of my other content, you can support my work and future content by buying me a virtual coffee. For as little as £2, this helps to support all that I do, and so I can keep creating content on my website, social media channels, newsletter and more. Your support means so much to me.