The chronic and unpredictable nature of Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease) makes it difficult to manage. It is always easier to manage the symptoms when you are in the comfort of your home, rather than in a public place. Dealing with embarrassing Crohn’s symptoms when you’re in public requires a different level of preparation and planning.

Here are seven tips that will help you cope with Crohn’s symptoms and not worry about being the center of attention for all the wrong reasons.

1. Know Your Triggers
The best way to track and identify foods that aggravate your flares is to keep a food diary. Noting down everything from what you eat to how much and at what time and any corresponding symptoms can help you and your doctor map out a balanced diet for you without losing on any essential nutrients.

2. Keep Anti-Diarrheal Medicines Handy
Diarrhea is an unavoidable symptom of Crohn’s and can strike at any time, whether you are traveling, in a meeting or in a social gathering with friends. Anti-diarrheal medicines can come to the rescue at such times. They not only help with the diarrhea, but also with gas and bloating.

3. Watch Your Fiber Intake
Foods rich in fiber such as fresh fruits, grains and vegetables can make Crohn’s symptoms worse and hence should be avoided during a flare up. If you have noticed a high fiber food as your trigger, speak to your dietitian to replace it with an alternative healthier option.

4. Avoid Gassy Foods
Foods such as lentils, legumes, beans, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower are known to produce gas and should be avoided. These foods are difficult to digest and can cause bloating and excess gas. Steer clear of spicy food if you have an active flare.

5. Fill Up On Fluids
People who suffer from Crohn’s are at an increased risk of diarrhea and hence dehydration. It is highly recommended to replenish the lost water by gearing up on liquids. Avoid highly acidic fruit juices, carbonated drinks and caffeinated beverages as these can increase inflammation.
Tip: Sip on your fluids rather than gulping them all at once. Gulping can trap air in your intestines and make you gassy causing discomfort.

6. Do Some Planning
Plan ahead before you travel. The best way to avoid embarrassing social situations and unnecessary stress is by doing a little research and locating restrooms and public toilets on your way.

7. Make Your Own Emergency Kit
Keeping a few emergency items at hand can help you be extra prepared and stand up in case of an accident. Always pack a change of underwear and pants, some toilet paper, baby wipes and a deodorizer.

These tips will not only help you manage your symptoms better but also be more vigilant and prepared for any unaccountable social situations.

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