Category Archives: Constipation

September is Celiac Awareness Month

Infographic: Celiac Disease at a GlanceEven with the gluten-free diet fad that’s been sweeping the nation, not everyone who goes gluten free has Celiac. Celiac is a serious autoimmune disease that affects the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients, which can ultimately lead to malnutrition.

Several common symptoms of Celiac Disease affect your gut and digestive tract, such as bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea. And like many other autoimmune diseases, anxiety, headaches, fatigue and joint pain are also common.

The downside is that there’s no pharmaceutical or therapeutic cure for Celiac Disease – only a strictly gluten-free diet can prevent further damage and symptoms.

The upside is that living gluten free is easier than you might think. And it doesn’t require buying the often overpriced items at the grocery store that are labeled “gluten free.” Sticking to whole foods and cooking whenever possible is the clearest path to being successfully gluten free. Processed foods often have hidden gluten in their lengthy list of ingredients. However, rice, corn, potatoes, cauliflower, lentils, beans, and other whole grains are excellent substitutes for pasta and bread that aren’t just free from gluten, they’re much healthier overall. Looking up low-carb or Paleo recipes is another way to get ideas on what you can eat.

There’s ongoing research to find a cure for Celiac, or at least a way to curb its strength, including clinical trials for folks fighting through the disease.

BeyondCeliac.org has a robust resource for folks with Celiac or those who think they might have it. In the Living with Celiac section, you can find all sorts of resources for how to manage kids with the disease, how to go gluten free, and several other helpful bits of info. You can also learn what the organization is doing to increase awareness, raise funds, and push for additional medical research to eventually find a cure.

Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned you might have Celiac. And in the meantime, have a look at some gluten-free recipes to help ease your symptoms.

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Crohn’s fighters share their stories

One of our favorite things to share is the stories from folks struggling with Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, ostomy bags, and other forms of IBD. The fight in them is such an inspiration to us that we feel compelled to share their strength to continue to spread awareness and hopefully to find a cure.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standingJessica,  Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student

“I wish others knew that people with IBD (and really all patients with chronic illnesses) deal with so much more than the physical symptoms of their disease. Having a chronic illness can take a huge mental and emotional toll. This doesn’t mean that all patients with IBD have a mental illness, but some report anxiety, depression, insomnia, and difficulty coping with their illness. On a side note, I wish patients with IBD knew that it’s OK to feel this way and that seeking help from a mental health professional is not a weakness, it’s a sign of strength. You are not alone!”

 

Michelle Lynn Law

“My last link to show my fight and support”

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Terri B. Faulkner20431516_1527529490639895_2330440838295497182_n

“My daughter 2 weeks ago at her Remicade Treatment. She has diagnosed 2 years ago 13 but We just started Remicade a year ago. Had no flares almost a year but now she’s experiencing what seems like an allergic reaction 10 minutes into the treatment last times. Been glaring since April so we are back on Prednisone Euceris. Hoping this isn’t a sign of Remicade failing.”

 

 

Kalee, NCCL Co-Chair

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, flower, outdoor and nature“I remember everything about the phone call from my doctor- where I was standing, who I was with, and what words my doctor chose when telling me about my diagnosis. I remember hurrying inside to look up the prognosis, treatment, and what my life might look like. To be honest, I was terrified and had no idea how I’d manage my disease in college. My Crohn’s Disease has brought me to some of my lowest points both mentally and physically, but it has also given me some of my biggest triumphs.

Life throws challenges your way but the Foundation and NCCL taught me several extremely valuable lessons. The first lesson is that you are not alone. I was introduced to one of the strongest and most incredible community of supports. The second lesson is that you are bigger than your disease and that your IBD does not define you. When I found out I was selected to be a part of the National Council of College Leaders, I was over the moon and originally visualizing what I could contribute to the council but it was the council that gave me the greatest gift possible- more than I could ever repay. The Foundation and council gave me the tools and confidence to recognize sub-par aspects of patient care and access to care and to actually do something about it. I’ve spoken to legislators about healthcare reforms, worked with FDA representatives and physicians about redefining the use of medical foods, and helped create calls to action.

These steps in the right direction and the hope that future IBD patients don’t have to travel the path I did are what have gotten me through some of my toughest moments in college. Now that I’ve graduated and am transitioning out of my role as council co-chair, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be given a voice in the IBD community, to have been a part of a council that’s helped me grow more than I ever thought possible, and to start my journey as a future healthcare provider given all that I’ve learned through the Foundation.”

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Our HOT LIST of good foods for digestion

Image result for leafy greensEating right for your digestive health doesn’t have to be a crazy health-food-store-expensive-ingredient journey. You probably have a lot of the foods that can help digestion and are also good for folks struggling with different forms of IBD.

Here’s our HOT LIST of foods that are great for your gut and not super fussy.

Good Fats

Avocado

This creamy goodness comes equipped with soluble fiber, which is much easier on your digestive tract than the insoluble stuff. And, once they’re ripe, they’re easy to prepare. Simply cut in have, twist out the core, and scoop into your dish.

Add some salt, garlic powder and black pepper, then mash together for a quick guacamole spread for sandwiches. Or scoop it into your blender, and add some lemon juice or vinegar, your favorite seasonings and herbs, and some Greek yogurt for a creamy green goddess dressing.

Smooth Nut Butters

The crunchy stuff can irritate your bowels if you struggle with Crohn’s, diverticulitis or other similar issues. The smooth stuff offers just the same amount of good fats, protein and fiber, but allows your body to do less work.

Add almond butter to a smoothie with blueberries, spinach and almond milk. Or dip carrots into peanut butter for a crunchy afternoon snack. Cashew butter works as a butter substitute if you’re in the mood for some baked good.

Salmon

This healthy-fat fish is a fan favorite. The oils are great for everything from your lower tract to your skin. Add some salt, brown sugar and pineapple and roast in tinfoil for a sweet and salty dinner. If fish isn’t your forte, order the salmon next time you’re out to eat, and let someone else do the cookin’.

Soft Leafy Greens

Spinach

Popeye’s favorite green is such for a reason. It’s loaded with vitamins, and the leaves aren’t as tough on your gut as kale or the tougher greens are. Spinach is a great vehicle for flavor. Saute a bag in a bit of olive oil with salt and fresh garlic for a super simple side dish. Add it to your smoothie since the flavor and texture will blend right in. Or add a handful to your next salad.

Arugula

Arugula is a really flavorful green that’s got a peppery bite that’s a wonderful addition to most dishes. Throw a handful into a pita pocket with some tuna fish, onion and Greek yogurt for an easy lunch. Or stir this into some warm rice and add olives, diced bell peppers and crumbled feta.

Watercress 

This super food has been named the most nutritious of all the greens. It’s a delicate and soft leaf that won’t irritate your stomach, and mixes in with any salad recipe you can think of. Same goes for smoothies – add some watercress with strawberries, peanut butter and coconut milk for a yummy breakfast or afternoon snack. And watercress goes well with your favorite veggies, diced and dressed the way you like. Add some salmon for a well-balanced meal.

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The real struggles of three IBDers

On a normal day, car trouble or a busy grocery store are minor inconveniences. When you add Crohn’s or Colitis to your schedule, your normal day can turn into a bad dream in no time.

To raise awareness of this struggle and show how strong these survivors are, we wanted to share three encouraging stories as we look forward to the bright future of IBDers.

 

Amber Lopez Pelton, Crohn’s SurvivorImage may contain: 2 people, people sitting and indoor

I’m still wearing purple to raise awareness for IBD💜💜💜 I thought someone fixed the brake lights a while ago, but some nice man honked his horn& told me they were out still out. Being in a bad flare, I had an extra change of clothes& took the girls with me& changed& cleaned myself the best I could while I got the truck serviced. It was very embarrassing but The Automotive place treated us very well& gave us a good price& understood. They got to see a little bit of a taste of what us IBDrs go thru on a daily basis, behind closed doors. It can cause depression as well. It’s an autoimmune disease!! So please, take us seriously, many have passed from this& it can b hereditary.

Let’s fight for a cure everyone!! 

Oh& it can turn into Cancer without proper treatment. So let’s raise awareness& fight for a cure💜💜💜Stay strong my IBD Warriors!!

 

Nicole Lynn Cochran, Ostomy SporterImage may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

I am 28 years old and have suffered from severe ulcerative colitis since I was 19. For years I hid my illness and was embarrassed to talk about the painful and debilitating symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

I had gone through over 30 medications including biologics, high dose steroids and even forms of chemotherapy with no relief. My colon was killing me. Three weeks ago I went under the knife to remove my diseased colon. I have two more surgeries to go to create my jpouch and to reverse my ileostomy.

I wear a bag and I am not embarrassed, and I have no reason to be.

This bag is giving me LIFE and I intend to take full advantage of that.

I have come a long way from the 19 year old girl that was afraid to talk about her illness. I have an ostomy and I am proud of it!

 

Image may contain: one or more people and plantAmber Schieber, Lifetime IBD Warrior

I’ve had Crohns Colitis and IBD since I’m 9 years old, I’m 20 now, my disease is so sever it has moved into my lungs and has caused respiratory diseases. ” Just breathe” is written in my parents handwriting, symbolic to, deep breath, everything is going to be okay, one step at a time.

Everything does get better, don’t give up, fight like a girl.

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Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness 2016

Image result for crohn's and colitis awareness week

#IBDVisible 2016

This week, we celebrate Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness with the goal of making IBD more visible and less isolating for folks who live with it.

The tricky thing about Crohn’s, Colitis, and other forms of IBD, is that oftentimes, people who struggle with the digestive disorders seem ok on the outside. However, the symptoms take their toll internally, causing all sorts of fatigue, loss of appetite, cramping, and frequent bowel movements that can make it difficult to carry on with a normal day but aren’t always visible to folks on the outside.

This awareness week is meant to recognize folks who struggle with various forms of IBD, their caregivers and families, the healthcare professionals who provide care, and the researchers dedicated to finding more advanced treatments and eventually a cure.

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America has several ways you can get involved or simply raise your awareness about IBD. There are chapters across the country that you can connect with through Facebook to keep up with local fundraising events. Have a look at Michigan’s to see what’s going on in your area. Then, you can read the stories of folks who live with a form of IBD, learn about donating or participating in an event, then read about recent research and the advances the medical community has made.

Beyond that, sharing articles, memes, infographics and even your personal story on social media can help raise awareness about IBD and the struggles these heroes face.

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Three inspiring stories from IBD fighters

Every day across the country, more than one a half million people live with some form of irritable bowel disease. The struggles of these folks can vary immensely, with the goal of most to find some normality within the disorder.

Recently, we’ve come across a handful of really incredible and inspiring stories, so we thought we’d share a few with you.

Tony, a Crohn’s patient from Pennsylvania

For me, Crohn’s is one piece of a very complicated medical package – I also live with epilepsy, Celiac disease, and a rare, systemic genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and I struggle daily with depression. Suffice it to say, I manage A LOT when it comes to my health and overall well-being.

There’s something about living with a disease like Crohn’s that has altered my entire perception of myself and my place in the world. When I was diagnosed, I stared death in the eyes. Crohn’s, forever complicated by my entire medical mash-up, nearly killed me. It ravaged my body before more treatments were developed. At the time, infliximab was the only biologic therapy on the market, and after a 13 year run with it, it was no longer helping me. Surgery was necessary and as a not yet out of the closet gay man, I feared I would never live an authentic life. I feared I would die before I could ever tell another man that I thought he was cute.

There is absolutely nothing easy or carefree about living with Crohn’s. It’s painful. I’m 33 and I still have accidents. I am on a very strict medication regimen, and there is not a decision I made that Crohn’s, and my health in general, does not directly influence. There are no days off for me or the other 1.6 million Americans living with IBD. This disease is harrowing, but I have managed and found joy in life and, after all of it, I wouldn’t change anything.

I’m often asked why I wouldn’t change life with something so debilitating as Crohn’s disease. And, for me, Crohn’s has caused issues with my skin, kidneys, joints, and, as new research suggests, probably doesn’t help my depression. It’s because living with Crohn’s has taught me so much about my own will to survive and my abilities to rise up against all odds.

I’m strong. I’m resilient. I’m capable. I do not know if I would be the strong, witty, and humble person I am today without this disease.

Via CCFA – Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America

 

Tyler, an IBD fighter, member of NCCL

My IBD is something I have constantly tried to keep on the “back burner,” to not focus on it and live my life without any limitations. For years this worked just fine until recently, when complications arose just days before the start of the fall semester.After undergoing several tests and surgery, I was faced with the difficult decision of whether I could return to school for the semester or to take off. 

My body and my mind started on opposing sides, as my mind was set on returning to school but my body was not ready to do so. After much contemplation, they came around to agree on a simultaneous decision to take the semester off. Despite it not being the decision I hoped for, placing my health as a priority was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

After all, if we don’t have our health, what do we have?

I think this is an important point that is easily overlooked in the younger generation. We are on the timeline of school, a career, the future, etc. that our health can easily be left on the “back burner” when it shouldn’t be. Everything going on in life can wait. Take the time for your health when needed. Regardless of what IBD puts on hold in your life, you will always bounce back and one up the disease.

Via CCFA Campus Connection

 

Lauren Zirfas, a Crohn’s patient from KansasLauren Zirfas

I was a healthy, happy child until the age of four.  I loved to ride my bike, swim, sing, but most of all I loved to dance.  Then things changed.  I was constantly tired, had severe anxiety, always complained of a tummy ache, my skin was very pale with huge, dark circles under my eyes, I used the bathroom A LOT, and I had quit growing.  During the next few years I had every blood test possible, yet nothing showed up.

When I started school, I was so tired that I could barely make it through the day.  I would come home and go straight to my room to take a nap.  My mom and dad woke me up to go to dance class, eat supper, or wherever we had to be. Once, I fell asleep at the table in my plate, like a baby does; and another time, I fell down the stairs because I was so exhausted.  I couldn’t keep up with my brother, Conner, or my friends at the swimming pool.  After 30 minutes at the pool, I would ask my mom if we could go home.  I even asked my parents if I could quit dance class because I just couldn’t stand two hours of dancing after a whole day at school, and dance was my life!  My mom and dad were very worried because a normal kid doesn’t act like that.  I am the youngest of five, so they should know.

Finally in March of 2015, I was referred to Dr. Hattar.  She had me limit the amount of dairy products that I ate each day and took away cow’s milk, but my symptoms didn’t go away.  On May 4,2015, I had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy so Dr. Hattar could look inside of me.  That was the day I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, just two weeks after I turned eight years old.

I began receiving the Remicade Infusion ten days later on May 14, 2015; and have been receiving them every six to eight weeks since.  My family has had to make a few changes at home since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, but it hasn’t been too bad. Now I am able to keep up with my brother and my friends. In the past year, I tried out for Ballet Wichita’s The Nutcracker and danced as a mouse, cheered for my brother’s football team, played basketball and softball, and enjoyed my true love of dancing by training/going to class every week and dancing whenever my feet hit the floor.  I am now growing like a normal, nine year old kid should, thanks to Dr. Hattar.

One day, I hope there is a cure for Crohns Disease so that kids like me don’t have to go to the doctor for an infusion.  That is why I am walking for a cure and I am happy to share my story with everyone.

Via Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America – Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter

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Announcement! New Facebook page for Research Department

Our Research Department now has its own Facebook page!

Our Research Department now has its own Facebook page!

We’re excited to announce the launch of our Research Department’s very own Facebook page!

The goal of our Research Department is to conduct clinical trials for folks struggling with digestive disorders such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. For many patients who haven’t had much success with other courses of treatment, these trials can be a great way to explore other options.

Anyone interested in participating will have to qualify. If you do, you’ll have access to more than 75 years of research experience with high-quality care in a professional and comfortable environment.

To stay up-to-date with our latest trials, like our Facebook page, or contact us at (248) 267-8485.

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Three foods that ease constipation – with recipes!

Pretty much everyone has dealt with constipation at some point. If you haven’t, you’re one of the lucky ones – but don’t claim victory just yet.

Certain foods can help ease constipation.

Most people deal with constipation at some point. These foods can help reduce your chances.

Constipation can happen for a number of reasons: too much dairy, not enough water, irritable bowel syndrome. But instead of focusing on the causes, we decided to look at some solutions.

Here are some common foods found in every grocery store that help ease constipation with some easy recipes to get them into your diet.

Salad

Yea, yea, we need to eat more veggies. Everyone knows that. But sometimes, it’s not what you eat, but when you eat it. When you indulge in a digestive “no-no,” some roughage for dessert might be just what your gut needs.

“Adding that crunchy fibre as a finishing touch can help push the rest of the food through the digestive tract,” says Reader’s Digest Canada.

For your last-course salad, try this savory and bold arugula corn salad with bacon from Simply Recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large ears of corn
  • 2 cups of chopped arugula (about one bunch)
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • ⅓ cup of chopped scallions
  • 1 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • ⅛ Tsp of ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Our suggestions

  • The recipe tells you to cook the fresh corn in the husk on a grill or steamed on the oven. But, since corn isn’t always in season, you can use some canned corn in its place.
  • You can substitute turkey bacon, cubed ham or turkey, or even some olives for the bacon. The point is to have a salty, indulgent bite in the salad, so pick your protein poison.
  • If you don’t have scallions, some leeks, shallots, or minced white, yellow, Spanish or red onion will work. If you want to take the edge off of their potency, soak them in a bit of vinegar before you mix them in. To make life easier, throw the onion in the food processor instead of chopping by hand.
  • Add half a clove of minced garlic, a teaspoon of dijon mustard or a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper to the dressing for some zing. Most vinegars will work in this recipe, so if you don’t have white wine, use what’s in your pantry.

Broccoli

This cruciferous veggie has a pungent smell but even more potent digestive benefits. The high fiber and vitamin C content also works as an immune system helper.

Try Ina Garten’s famous parmesan-roasted broccoli for a wonderful cold-weather dish.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 pounds of broccoli (about 8 cups of florets)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp of pine nuts, toasted
  • ⅓ cup of parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped basil (about 12 leaves)
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Olive oil, salt, pepper

Our suggestions

  • Buy pre-cut broccoli. It saves time, hassle and waste.
  • Use whatever nut you like. You can toss in some walnuts, pecans, peanuts, shelled pistachios, slivered almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or any other crunchy favorite.
  • Parmesan has a lower lactose level than most cheese, but if your goal is to improve digestion, you might want to forgo it.
  • Most fresh herbs will work, not just basil. Parsley is a great substitute. And if you don’t have any fresh, a dash of dried will add some flavor.
  • You can substitute the broccoli with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or carrots and turnips. Almost any veggie will taste good with these ingredients.

Pears

Pears are a sweeter way to help ease constipation. “The amount of fiber in other fruit pales in comparison to that in a pear,” says How Stuff Works. “Its gritty fiber may help prevent cancerous growths in the colon.”

You can put pears in just about anything, from sweet treats to savory appetizers. We liked this recipe for prosciutto-wrapped pork with sweet potatoes and pears from Real Simple. You get a double dose of digestive help from the sweet potatoes, and this is a complete meal in one pan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and cut lengthwise into wedges
  • 2 firm red Bartlett pears, cut into wedges
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 piece pork tenderloin (1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1 Tbsp honey

Our suggestions:

  • If you’re avoiding sugar, you can omit the honey.
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