The ABC’s of Crohn’s Disease & UC: “D” and “E”
Over the past week or so, I have spent awhile researching the next entry in this series, D. And what I found is beyond a few obvious ones, there aren’t many things related to Crohn’s and UC that begin with the letter D. Therefore, I am combining two letters together for this entry: D & E. So without further ado, read on!
Dehydration: A common side effect with IBD, dehydration can occur during bouts of vomiting or diarrhea or both when you are excreting a lot of fluids and not ingesting enough to replenish them. Signs of dehydration include dark urine and decreased output, thirst, light headaches, fatigue, dry skin, and dry or sticky mouth. Best way to avoid dehydration is to at least drink 64 ounces (2 liters) per day.
Depression: IBD is difficult for some to live with. It completely changes your life in every way impossible so its no surprise that some people with Crohn’s and UC can become depressed. If you are feeling depressed, there are some things you can do- talk to a professional about your feelings, do something positive for yourself, or look into taking antidepressants (if its severe enough). Treatment is a personal choice but you shouldn’t let it linger- you heal better when you are feeling mentally healthy and Crohnies need all their mental and physical strength to battle IBD.
Diarrhea: self-explanatory and part of daily life for those with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.
Diet: Diet plays a huge role in the treatment of Crohn’s and Colitis. Because of the inflammation, some patients can be placed on limited diets. It’s important to monitor what foods you can tolerate and which are triggers to help you feel good. Read more about diet in this recent post.
Digestive Tract: This is the part of the body where Crohn’s Disease and UC most commonly occurs (in some rare cases, Crohn’s can manifest itself on the exterior of the body).
Dipentum: A medication used to treat UC. Dipentum is an anti-inflammatory that is used to reduce bowel inflammation, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and abdominal pain.
Electrolytes: During a flare or bout with severe diarrhea, IBD patients can experience electrolyte imbalances. Electrolytes help to maintain the body’s electrical balance and the transfer of water among cells. Drinks like Gatorade and Powerade can help replenish electrolytes.
Endoscopy: The general medical term for looking inside the body using an endoscope. IBD patients typically undergo several types of endoscopic procedures including colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy.
Enteroscopy: An endoscopy of the small intestine. There are a few kinds of enteroscopies that are performed on IBD patients including double-balloon enteroscopy, single-balloon enteroscopy, spiral enteroscopy, and capsule endoscopy.
Entocort: A corticosteroid used to treat Crohn’s Disease. Entocort works by decreasing inflammation in the digestive tract.
Environmental Factors: There are some environmental factors that trigger IBD. Some include substances from foods, microbes (bacterias or viruses), and cigarette smoke. These environmental factors either trigger an immune system response or directly damage the lining of the intestines. Regardless of what they do, you should avoid the environmental factors, like smoking, that you can see.
ERCP: This one is a mouthful- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, also known as ERCP, is used to diagnose diseases of the gallbladder, biliary system, pancreas, and liver. It looks upstream to where digestive fluid comes from to where it enters the intestines. ERCP is also used therapeutically; it can be used to remove stones, insert stents, and, in the case of some IBD patients, to dilate strictures in patients with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (75% of whom will have ulcerative colitis).
ESR: ESR stands for erythrocyte (red blood cell) sedimentation rate. It is a blood test performed on patients to test for IBD. The ESR is the rate at which blood separates into red blood cells, plasma, and other matter. An elevated ESR can be an indicator of Crohn’s Disease or UC.
Exercise: A routine that includes exercise can benefit IBD patients. Exercise not only helps patients have good health overall, it also can help Crohnies recover from surgery faster, rebuild weakened muscles, and prevent loss of calcium and protein from bones. It is also a good way to alleviate stress, which can make Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis worse. The best types of exercise for IBD patients include low-impact exercise (walking or swimming), weight training, and strength training depending on what areas of the body bother you the most. You wouldn’t want to do an exercise that will hurt you elsewhere.
Eye Inflammation: A rare but possible complication of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Ethnicity: While IBD can affect people from all races and ethnicities, it is most commonly seen in Jews of Eastern European descent (also known as Ashkenazi).