Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition that causes the immune system to attack to cells of the gut wall, causing parts of the gut to become inflamed. The condition causes symptoms such as diarrhoea, weight loss, passing of blood in the poo, fatigue and abdominal pain. Symptoms can come and go, when they come back after a period of absence it is known as a ‘flare-up’.
If you have symptoms which you think are similar to those of Crohn’s disease, it is important that you see your GP, as many bowel conditions have very similar symptoms. Getting a diagnosis will ensure that you receive the right treatment for you.
There is no cure for Crohn’s disease, and we do not know exactly what causes it, but there are various treatments to manage a flare such as medicines which aim to reduce the inflammation in the gut allowing it to heal, drugs to help control symptoms or surgery to remove the affected part of the gut. Sometimes people having a Crohn’s flare may be put on a liquid diet to rest the gut, reduce inflammation and promote healing.
People with Crohn’s disease are at an increased risk of some nutrient deficiencies and long term nutritional consequences of the effects of Crohn’s disease, such as Osteoporosis. It is therefore vital that their diet is as healthy and balanced as possible.
Diet and Crohn’s Disease
Diet plays an important role in Crohn’s disease, whether your condition is active or in remission, it can help to avoid aggravating your symptoms and keep you well nourished. Different parts of the gut play different roles in the absorption of nutrients, and so depending on exactly which part of the gut is affected, the inflammation can sometimes interfere with the absorption of nutrients. This can lead to problems such as iron deficiency anaemia, weight loss or vitamin deficiencies, so diet and nutrition can play a vital role in maintaining your strength and well- being with Crohn’s disease. It can also help to prevent any long term health consequences from the Crohn’s disease, such as osteoporosis.
Each person with Crohn’s will need individually tailored advice, depending on their symptoms, individual food tolerances and food preferences
Often people feel that diet has an impact on their symptoms, especially if they experience digestive symptoms when their Crohn’s is in remission, because of this people often cut out foods that they feel may be having a detrimental effect. Of those who suffer with ongoing gut symptoms such as bloating, wind pain and diarrhoea in remission, some find that a diet low in FODMAP’s helps to relieve these symptoms.
It is important not to exclude foods without professional support, as this can lead to nutrient deficiencies, weight loss and long term ill health. If you feel that there is a link between your symptoms and your diet, or if you are concerned that your diet is lacking in some nutrients it is important to get support from a registered Dietitian to ensure that your diet is as healthy as possible. At Stanner Nutrition Clinic we have the necessary expertise to support you in ensuring that your diet is right for you and for your Crohn’s disease.