Being Newly Diagnosed with IBD

When newly diagnosed with IBD, it can be relieving to finally be able to put a name to your symptoms, but where do you go from there? Even though you may have to make some lifestyle changes, it is completely possible to live a full and successful life. It can be overwhelming but these tips are helpful to get you started in managing your Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis.  

Educate yourself on your condition and your treatment regimen

Understanding the options that are available regarding treatment and management options can be very helpful. Start by talking with your gastroenterologist to discuss treatment options. While there is no cure for IBD, it is a treatable condition. IBD treatment usually includes medication to suppress inflammation and control symptoms, as well as therapies to maintain remission and continue to prevent flares. It is extremely important to follow your treatment regimen, even when you are feeling better. If you are not experiencing symptoms, that means your treatment is working! Stopping your treatment will cause flares to start again. Every case of IBD is different, so it is normal for it to take some time to find the right treatment regimen for your body. The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation is can be a great resource of information and connections. The CCFA's "GI Buddy" tracks your symptoms, treatments, the food you eat, and other lifestyle factors. It also gives you reports that you can share with your doctor to help both of you better understand your condition.

Create a healthy lifestyle plan with diet and exercise

Maintaining a good diet and healthy weight can be crucial factors in reducing your symptoms and flares with IBD. It is recommended to eat smaller, more frequent meals that consist of foods that are easy to digest and nutrient dense. Foods that are difficult to digest can lead to intestinal cramping and lead to flares. While every case of IBD is different, these are the most common foods that cause irritation. You can always talk to your doctor about exploring diet options. It can also be beneficial to talk to a dietician.

Good sources of protein are:

  • Lean red meat
  • Skinless chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Lower-fat dairy products such as nonfat milk and low-fat cheeses or lactose free equivalents

Foods to avoid are:

  • High-fat and high-fiber such as nuts, seeds, corn, and popcorn
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Processed foods
  • Sugary desserts
  Getting enough exercise is also very important! Stress affects the way food moves through your digestive system, but exercise helps combat that. It can be especially helpful to try yoga, deep-berating techniques, and meditation. For more information on exercising, check out our blog, Exercising With IBD. (link the blog here)

Have A Support System

Coping with any disease can be especially challenging when you are newly diagnosed. Your friends and family can be your biggest resource in the beginning. You should also consider finding a support group to attend if you feel that is the best option for you. Support groups are a wonderful resource because you can hear from others who have been in your shoes and probably experienced a lot of same things you are going through. You can connect with the IBD community through the CCFA and find a chapter near you to get involved in their events and support groups. Click "here" (insert link) to go to their website and find your chapter.   Sources 5 tips for those newly diagnosed with Crohn's Disease Everyday Health (2017)   Support for recently diagnosed Crohn's & Colitis UK (2020)   Newly Diagnosed Crohn's & Colitis Foundation (2020)