Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The two main subtypes of IBD are Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. They are both auto-immune inflammatory diseases with unknown cause. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gut from mouth to anus, whereas Ulcerative colitis is confined to the large intestine.
There is no special diet for IBD, but dietary assessment at the time of diagnosis is important to ensure nutritional adequacy. Nutrient deficiencies such as iron, folate, B12 and vitamin D are common in IBD. Supplements may be required, but our dietitians can ensure dietary adequacy.
During a flare up, when inflammation and symptoms are severe, a low residue diet may be recommended. This is usually only a short term requirement. If you have been advised to follow a low residue or low fibre diet, our dietitians can explain what the low residue diet entails and liaise with your specialist to determine when it is appropriate for you to return to normal diet.
Nutrient deficiencies, particularly iron, B12 and folate are common in Crohn’s disease and dietary intake may be encouraged by the dietitian on assessment.
Our dietitians are at the forefront of nutrition research, some involved directly in IBD research. As such, we are always aware of the latest research advances and whether there is a role for dietary change in IBD. There is some interesting new research about dietary emulsifiers and Crohn’s disease as well as sulfites in Ulcerative Colitis which can be discussed during your consultation with our dietitians.
When the disease is quiescent (not active, minimal inflammation) a normal diet is appropriate. For some people however, despite the fact their disease is well controlled, gastrointestinal symptoms can be considerable. It is likely in this case that you have IBS or another functional gut disorder as well as Crohn’s disease and therefore dietary strategies that alleviate IBS symptoms are likely to be beneficial.