So, you got the big ol’ BD diagnosis, huh? And now you’re trying to figure out how to live with it, right?
See, Behcet’s disease (or Behcet’s syndrome) is a very complicated and unpredictable disease. You can go days, weeks, months without any problem.
Then BAM! Out of nowhere, you’re struck down with fatigue and mouth sores. Before you can connect the dots as to why you’re having a flare (sometimes I think the only reason is that Behcet’s is bored…), you have to wrestle with the fact that your world has now shrunk to the size of your bed.
So, I know what you’re thinking…
Well, yes, that… But actually, I was thinking more along the lines of:
Even though you know Behcet’s is going to strike again, what can you do in those in-between times to help support yourself and your body?
I’m glad you asked!
Arthritis Research UK has a fabulous site with a lot of great information on how to live well with arthritis. Even better for us, they have a section devoted to Behcet’s and Behcet’s-specific needs, like dealing with that lovely, incredible fatigue.
AND, in terms of daily living with Behcet’s, they list a number of things you can do to help support your body.
We’ve heard it from doctors before: “Eat a balanced diet!” And, of course, we have to grumpily admit they’re right.
Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits will give your body the range of nutrients that it needs.
Plus, increasing the amount of vegetables and fruits you eat (and reducing the amount of sugars and fats) can not only help you feel better, but can also help you lose weight.
Why is weight loss important? When you’re dealing with a disease that can cause pain to your joints, less weight means less strain and pressure on your joints.
Speaking of joints, regular exercise like walking can help increase your joint flexibility, which helps lower the amount of joint pain you might have.
We ALL know that stress can be a major Behcet’s trigger. So, if you engage in some sort of exercise that has a mind-body connection, like yoga, t’ai chi, or Pilates, you can also lower the amount of stress in your life and help reduce your chance of a flare.
Ah, yes, the good ol’ birds and the bees. When you’re dealing with Behcet’s ulcers down there, it’s never a good time. Forget the fact that potential partners, or even doctors, often assume that you have herpes. It’s just darn painful!
Once you get a diagnosis, it’s helpful to have information or a website on hand that you can direct someone to.
Sometimes, Behcet’s means sex is off the table while the ulcers heal, and you should NEVER let your partner make you feel guilty for that.
If they can’t be understanding, then perhaps you need a new partner.
Women with Behcet’s disease can have natural pregnancies without any problem to themselves or their baby. However, it’s important to talk with your doctor if you ‘re thinking of becoming pregnant or if it happens accidentally. A lot of us with Behcet’s are on quite the cocktail of medications, and some of them are known to affect a fetus.
This applies to men, too. Depending on what medication you’re on, it’s possible that your little swimmers will carry those bad effects with them into an otherwise healthy egg.
So, the moral of the story? Safe sex is smart sex.
And if you are ready to become pregnant, then just be sure you work closely with your doctor and your OB/GYN. While some people with Behcet’s have noticed that their symptoms get less severe during pregnancy, the majority of women with Behcet’s say that they get worse. So it’s up to you to work with your doctor and figure out the best plan of action that will lead to a healthy you and a healthy baby.
Complementary medicine is also referred to as “holistic medicine,” or “alternative therapies.” To put it simply, complimentary medicine often works with your body as a whole and helps you engage in lifestyle changes that could provide help in treating your condition.
Of course, it’s important that you check with your doctor about these alternative therapies. While many of them might be helpful, depending on how your Behcet’s affects you, some might be more beneficial than others.
Here are some common examples:
- Herbal medicine
- Diet and supplements
- T’ai chi
- Alexander technique
- Copper bracelets
- Magnet therapy
- Wax bath therapy
It can never hurt to look up other ways to help support your body and your immune system, but it’s best to get your doctor’s input too before you start any new plan!
How do you handle daily living with Behcet’s? Share in the comments below!