At a glance you might think Crohn’s and green living couldn’t possibly create any conflicts. After all, the best diets for Crohn’s patients are wholesome organic foods. Their care and concern for the environment is no less that than any other eco-friendly citizen. Living green, or eco-friendly with Crohn’s, however, presents a few interesting and unusual challenges.
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There are several aspects of green living that are adaptable for a Crohn’s green lifestyle. Low energy lighting, solar lights outdoors, solar pool heating devices, treating the pool with natural salts and minerals instead of chemicals, skylights, and recycling are a few of the many green lifestyle changes to which Crohn’s patients easily adapt. People with Crohn’s disease can also shop green, supporting companies who are committed to reducing their carbon foot-print.
One thing Crohn’s patients can and should do to encourage green living is eat organic foods. The foods are healthier for everyone, but can be especially beneficial to those with Crohn’s disease as the less artificial fillers, waxes, and gunk put in their bodies the better off their digestive system will be.
There are a few green living ideals which Chron’s sufferers cannot achieve. One you may find unusual, but that is highly significant is the use of biodegradable toilet paper.
Most toilet paper that is easily biodegradable is very rough. That’s not too bad if you don’t have Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. However, Crohn’s, especially when in a flare-up, keeps you in the bathroom. It doesn’t take long for rough toilet paper to create incredible, unbearable pain.
Crohn’s disease already inflicts enough pain. One more pain in the derriere may not be tolerable. Severe and chronic pain inside your guts leaves no endurance for rough toilet paper. Whether it is considered green living or not, if you have Crohn’s disease you need a soft paper to help prevent the onset of other problems like hemorrhoids, irritated tags, and torn body tissue.
Another issue of green living that poses a problem for Crohn’s patients is the use of standard household cleaners. Crohn’s patients must keep germ proliferation to a minimum. Even with the recent flood of green cleaning products in the market, Crohn’s patients generally continue to use household cleaners that contain bleach or ammonia.
Certain germs that live specifically in the bathroom must be dead, so the Crohn’s patient stays healthy. One can hardly criticize anyone with Crohn’s disease for using traditional cleaning products to make sure that happens.
Even good bacteria in the digestive system can become life threatening when a Crohn’s patient’s immune system is compromised. For example, Clostridium difficile (C-diff) is a bacterium in everyone’s intestines. However, when C-diff enters the bloodstream of a Crohn’s patient or proliferates in their digestive system it can become life threatening. It is highly toxic and can result in death if left untreated.
Because C-diff and other germs and diseases prey on weak immune systems, Crohn’s patients have to show particular attention to the cleanliness of their surroundings. Fearing the possibility of getting sick will keep some individuals with Crohn’s disease from using green cleaning products, despite their germ killing claims.
It has everything to do with the instinct to remain healthy and is a mindset that keeps some individuals with Crohn’s disease from traveling without carrying their own cleaning supplies. As green cleaning products become increasingly available, and their reliability in killing germs is firmly established, this mindset among Crohn’s sufferers may change.
Paper or plastic? The answer seems like a no-brainer for promoting green, eco-friendly living: paper or reusable cloth bags. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t that easy for Crohn’s patients. They need the plastic bags, and in order to live green and not become consumers of more plastic bags they will recycle plastic grocery bags for their needs.
This information is not something a typical Crohn’s patient would share, but in order to understand the conflict between living green and living with Crohn’s these issues have to be discussed frankly.
Plastic bags are a staple for Crohn’s patients who suffer from moderate to severe Crohn’s. Many Crohn’s patients lose complete control of their sphincter muscles. Crohn’s accidents are embarrassing and unhygienic. Sometimes, the only thing the Crohn’s sufferer can do is dispose of soiled undergarments and many times their clothes, as well.
For this reason many Crohn’s patients of a gastroenterologist keep plastic bags around the house, in their car, in their purse, or even tucked in the bottom of their briefcase. (They also keep a change of clothes tucked away.) When an accident happens there is enough concern about the incident, the smell, and getting the problem taken care of. The last thing a Crohn’s patient needs to do is walk around their home or a store with a smelly paper bag, because they are too green to use plastic.
Plastic grocery bags seem to clash with green living, but for someone with Crohn’s disease using plastic grocery bags is a legitimate and useful way to recycle them.