I had my first real flare last November that I couldn't shake for about 3 months. Patrick and others have hit on many of the most important points, sorry for repeating some of them.
Here's what's worked for me:
1. Learn everything you can and apply what makes sense. Take an active role in your healthcare choices.
2. Only take antibiotics when absolutely necessary, ask how any antibiotic will affect your disease and ask a second opinion if necessary prior to starting a course of a new antibiotic. Avoid Augmentin like the plague. Maybe an injectable rather than oral form????
3. Find people/Doctors that feel they can help you live well. My GI Doctor is good for what he’s trained in, but, that isn’t enough. I had to find others that I felt could help me in ways my GI Doctor couldn’t or wouldn’t.
A. Dr. G helped me figure out that I was suffering from Adrenal Fatigue, how it could affect/contribute to my condition and wrote a treatment plan to fix the issue. Most Doctors would not have figured it out or would have written this off as the “alternative diagnosis of the month”- yet I feel better.
B. Amy Kubal helped me dial in a strict (no dairy, nightshades, legumes, grains of any sort) Paleo diet with flare and maintenance menus. As said here before, your diet needs to be different for the different stages of disease. Very different diet than what the dietician my GI referred me to had to say and…. I feel better.
C. Are your hormones in check? Find a Doctor that knows what he or she is doing. This was huge for me. If you research the different hormones and various autoimmune diseases you will find some interesting trends, D3 and DHEA being 2 of them.
4. Take probiotics as many times a day and in as large of dose as you can afford. More seems to be better for me. I've found that VSL#3-DS works very well and costs an arm and a leg.
5. Add a non-irritating fiber to your diet when you're in the maintenance phase of your diet.
6. IF works when in a flare, no doubt in my mind. Just make sure you are getting enough calories. (Coconut milk has lots of MCT's that are great for the gut lining, blended sweet potato, and yes, the dreaded banana)
7. Check to see if you insurance will pay for Levaza (prescription fish oil), if they do find a Doctor that will write you a prescription, I only pay $15.month for 4grams/day. Limit your omega 6’s to get the best bang for your buck.
8. ChiGong has helped me "cool my jets" and start to get my nervous system out of the "fight or flight" mode, find a way to decrease your stress level and improve how you respond to stress.
9. Live as clean as you can.
I know this will cause a S*&T storm, but please keep an open mind. If you have a severe case, are cancer free, have truly given the diet and lifestyle changes 100% and your Doctors want you to take drugs that has significant side effects or worse, do some research on GH. Very limited research has been done with GH and Chron's, some with Lupus, RA and the other well known autoimmune diseases with what seems to be a high level of sucess. What they fail to metion is that the second job you'll need to be able to pay for the GH could kill you.