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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I prevent abdominal pain, bloating, gas & fatigue with Crohns?

    I was diagnosed with Crohn's 6 months ago and while I no longer have diarrhoea and have put on a lot (too much) weight since being diagnosed, I continue to have constant abdominal pain, severe bloating and gas and fatigue on a daily basis.

    While the fatigue is ongoing, the pain, bloating and gas generally starts around 3pm each day and makes it hard and uncomfortable to finish the working day.

    As Crohn's is relatively new to me, I'm just after some advice if these symptoms are to be the new “norm” for me, and I should be thankful my symptoms aren't as bad as others that I read about, of is there something else I can do to treat these problems.
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    For more than 25 years, Crohn’s & Colitis Australia™ (formerly the Australian Crohn’s and Colitis Association) has been making life more liveable for more than … View Profile

    These symptoms should not be regarded as the new norm of having Crohn's.  There could be a number of reasons why you are having these symptoms, including the possibility of a stricture (a narrowed section of intestine), which is a common problem in Crohn's and would need to be ruled out by your gastroenterologist.  Sometimes people with IBD have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) overlay, which in some individuals may be due to an intolerance of certain foods including those known as FODMAPs - an acronym for Fermentable, Oligosaccharide, Disaccharide, Monsaccharide And Polyols.  These foods are part of a normal diet, but it is thought that in some people these foods are not well absorbed and move into the large intestine where they ferment, resulting in abdominal pain, bloating, wind and diarrhoea.  A dietitian who has expertise in gastrointestinal disorders and FODMAPs may be able to help identify if there is a problem.  Don't overlook the GP in trying to find other possible causes and if necessary for tests to be arranged.

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    Liz Beavis

    Dietitian

    Liz specialises in helping you to feel better, by helping you identify any food, diet or environmental factors that might be triggering your symptoms. Liz … View Profile

    I agree with CCA that it sounds like you may have some other gut symptoms (eg IBS) as well as your Crohn’s. But this is not as scary as it sounds! It’s not uncommon for an inflamed gut to be a bit more ‘tetchy’ or sensitive to foods that might upset it. And thankfully there are certainly plenty of things that you can do to reduce this extra stress on your gut, and perhaps even help calm it down.
    As already suggested, reducing FODMAPs foods may very well help your symptoms, or you may have other individual food intolerances. Other factors such as stress may also be making your symptoms worse.
    Our clinical approach is to tease apart your symptoms and your food intake to help you identify which foods (or food groups) and other factors (such as stress!), may be playing a role in your symptoms. I would recommend finding yourself an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) with a special interest in digestive issues to help you take a stepwise approach to doing this.
     
    Liz Beavis APD
    www.newtownnutrition.com.au

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