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Self-help and daily living for Behçet’s syndrome

Exercise

It's important to exercise your joints and to keep up your general level of fitness. Do as much as you can but make sure you rest when you feel you need to. Exercise such as yoga or Pilates may also help to reduce stress, which can sometimes trigger a flare-up of symptoms in some people.

Diet and nutrition

A poor diet won't cause Behçet's syndrome. But we recommend a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables and water, and not too many fats and sugars. This, alongside an active lifestyle, will improve your general health.

Complementary medicine

There's no evidence to suggest that any particular complementary medicine can help ease the symptoms of Behçet's syndrome. Generally speaking, though, complementary and alternative therapies are relatively well tolerated, but you should always discuss their use with your doctor before starting treatment. There are some risks associated with specific therapies.

In many cases the risks associated with complementary and alternative therapies are more to do with the therapist than the therapy. This is why it's important to go to a legally registered therapist or one who has a set ethical code and is fully insured.

If you decide to try therapies or supplements, you should be critical of what they're doing for you, and base your decision to continue on whether you notice any improvement. If your therapist suggests that you should stop your prescribed treatment, you should consider the safety of this advice very carefully and discuss it with your rheumatologist or GP.

Sex and pregnancy

The genital ulcers associated with Behçet's can sometimes make sex uncomfortable or even painful. However, they're not sexually transmitted or contagious.

Some of the drugs used to treat Behçet's syndrome can affect sperm, eggs, fertility or even the baby, for example, thalidomide is known to be harmful to an unborn child. It's important to discuss your plans with your doctor if you're thinking of having a baby. This applies to both men and women with Behçet's syndrome. However, there's no reason why you shouldn't have a family, and the chances of your children inheriting the condition are tiny.

Living with Behçet's syndrome

Any long-term condition can affect your mood, emotions and confidence, and it can have an impact on your work, social life and relationships.

Talk things over with a friend, relative or your doctor if you do find your condition is getting you down. You can also contact support groups if you want to meet other people with Behçet's.

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