Living Well With Crohn’s Disease: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

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Living Well With Crohn’s Disease: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

Making smart food choices isn’t enough

If you have Crohn’s disease, you know that many foods can trigger a flare-up and leave you suffering with abdominal pain, diarrhea and fatigue. But there’s more to managing your condition than making smart food choices.

Understanding what other behaviors can make your condition worse can empower you to adjust your lifestyle to keep symptoms at bay, says gastroenterologist Benjamin Click, MD.

“An informed patient is the best patient,” he says. “They stand the best chance of better overall outcomes with the disease.”

Dr. Click advises avoiding these six mistakes to best position yourself for less severe symptoms and fewer flare-ups.

Taking herbs and supplements

Vitamin deficiencies that come with Crohn’s may make some supplements (like Vitamin D, B12 and folic acid, for instance) helpful.

But, other supplements can actually make your condition worse. St. John’s wort, for example, can increase upset stomach, nausea and vomiting, and black cohosh can cause liver problems.

Dr. Click recommends talking to your doctor before you start using any herbs or supplements. Only your provider can tell you how these products will interact with the prescription medications you’re taking.


You know smoking is bad for your health in general, but it can really wreak havoc on your system when you have Crohn’s disease, he says.

It doesn’t matter what you smoke – cigarettes, cigars and even vaping can promote inflammation and put you at greater risk for a relapse.

Lighting up could also mean you’ll need to take more medications or need more surgeries to control your condition.

Drinking alcohol

Of course it’s your choice if you want to have an occasional cocktail or glass of wine when you’re out to lunch or in the evenings. But keep in mind that alcohol can interact negatively with certain medications you take.

Crohn’s disease irritates your intestinal lining, and excess alcohol can also aggravate it further. If your intestines are inflamed, you increase the likelihood of bleeding, malnutrition and worsening symptoms overall, Dr. Click says.

Drinking alcohol in moderation is likely not harmful, but each person’s threshold for irritations is different.

Read on: Living Well With Crohn’s Disease: 6 Mistakes to Avoid

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