Treating Crohn’s Disease

Q: I have Crohn’s disease. I am quite irregular with my medication but I do not have any recurring diarrhea. In fact, I alternate between constipation and diarrhea and it is never severe. I have occasional pain just below the umbilicus but that is rare. What stays is the nausea. I feel very nauseated and pukish all the time, especially at night. I have low appetite and that has reduced the amount of food I eat. That has in turn led to weight loss. I also have an elevated pulse rate (110 per minute) even when I am at rest, but that regularize if I do breathing exercises. I also feel very fatigued all day and sometimes I feel faint if I am standing. I have to sit down. I also have a lot of joint pain and muscle fatigue all the time. I am a smoker. Could you tell me if I need to make a doctor’s appointment and what could be wrong?
-By Vanessa

Reply:

Are you taking any medication?

Though there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, patients are definitely given medications.

The aim is to reduce the inflammation of the intestines.

This is very essential, both to alleviate symptoms and give short term relief, and to improve long term prognosis and limit complications.

The nauseated feel you have may be due to sulfa medications which are given in this disease process. You may discuss these symptoms (nausea, low appetite) with your treating doctor. Ask him to shift you from sulfa drug to other medications for some time.

As far as your fatigue is concerned, it is suggested that you improve your diet. Take plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables (boiled). Also, ask your doctor for calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Patients with crohn’s should also go for vitamin B12 shots, which is mostly deficient in these individuals. That would improve your appetite and alleviate your symptoms substantially.

Smoking is very bad for you. In fact, it is one of the factors dealing to conditions like crohn’s. Consider tapering smoking.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.