Thursday, 30 April 2015

Health - Dealing with a Crohn's Flare

Regular followers will know that I have Crohn's Disease, which is one of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (the other being Ulcerative Colitis). You'll find a little bit about my diagnosis in this earlier post.

Last year I had my first flare and ended up back on steroids to control the symptoms. Shortly thereafter I had a colonoscopy which confirmed that I still had some active inflammation.


I've never really been back to my usual self since that flare last year, and then last week I had 7 days where everything I ate went through me. It was horrendous and I was absolutely shattered. Hence why I've been pretty quiet on Twitter and here on my blog - apologies!

I restricted my diet and for a couple of days I ate toasted crumpets, white toast and rice pudding to give my gut a bit of a rest. I lost nearly half a stone - which was good because I had put on quite a bit over my Easter holidays - but obviously this was not a good way to lose it!

When I was first diagnosed I had a book called something like The Healthy Gut (it had a bright red cover!) and I thought I'd share some of the advice that I remember; hopefully this might help others out there with IBD.

I've found that when I have a bad day, the BRAT diet helps. It's a bland diet that has foods that are low in fibre. When you're having a flare you want to avoid high fibre foods as they could worsen the bowel upset.

BRAT stands for Bananas (contain pectin which helps regulate the digestive system), Rice (absorbs fluid and adds bulk to your stools), Apples (Peel and grate them then leave to go brown; like bananas, apples are a good source of pectin) and Toast (said to soak up toxins, especially if its burnt).

Apparently Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup is also good as it has the perfect balance of electrolytes for an upset tummy although I'd have thought that tomatoes, which are acidic, aren't a good idea. I saw a nutritionist when I was newly diagnosed and I was told to stop eating tomato-based sauces (I used to eat a lot more pasta and curries than I do now) and not to drink fresh orange juice on an empty stomach.

It's also really important to drink plenty fluids. Victoria (@IckleBear_) on Twitter who also has Crohn's suggested Lucozade Sport to me, so I got myself plenty to keep me going!

Thankfully I seem to be a bit better now and my bowels have settled. I'm still waiting blood results from the hospital and faecal calprotectin measurements which correlates significantly with disease activity in people with confirmed IBD.

At the moment I take azathioprine daily to control my Crohn's, but if I continue to have these episodes or flares then the nurse has suggested that we may look to change my meds. I am also going to investigate different diets more. First up I'm going to switch all my tea to decaffeinated; caffeine makes me run to the loo! I'm also going to consider going wheat-free or maybe even gluten-free.

If you want something light-hearted to watch after all this serious IBD chat, then have a look at this silly video of my banana peeling antics. Given the banana advice above I thought it was related, ever so slightly (it's basically a shameless plug for my YouTube channel!!) 

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