Nutrition and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

by Marissa Frodsham
Nutrition and IBD

Living with a digestive disorder like inflammatory bowel disease can be challenging, but working with a Registered Dietitian can help manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term to describe chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, including Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

IBD is a long-lasting condition that can reduce the quality of life in some cases, but there are ways nutrition can help manage the symptoms.

Here’s what you need to know about IBD and Crohn’s Disease and how working with a Registered Dietitian can help you enjoy eating without the constant worry of flare-ups and other pain associated with digestive disorders.

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis are lifelong conditions that inflame the lining of the gastrointestinal tract (the passageway of the digestive system).

Crohn’s Disease mainly inflames the small intestine and upper colon (large intestine). Ulcerative Colitis is more localized to the colon, where it inflames the inner lining of the tissue.

Crohn’s disease

These conditions vary in severity, with phases of active symptoms or times in remission (when symptoms are absent). IBD can cause discomfort, interfere with your body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients, and healthily eliminate waste.

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Here are some symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, which can lead to serious health problems and make everyday activities quite difficult.

Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms
Chronic diarrhea

Abdominal pain/cramps

Blood in the feces

Bloating and gas

Fatigue

Fever

Diminished appetite

Weight loss

Mouth sores

Arthritis

Delayed growth (in children)

Crohn’s Disease Treatment

Unfortunately, there is not cure for IBD. However, it can be controlled with medication to help heal the bowels and control inflammation. In extreme cases, surgery can be done to remove parts of the intestine.

Medication is an important part of treatment, but diet also plays a big role in maintaining nutrition and managing symptoms.

Diet is a major part of life, but it is important to remember that this may look different for everyone.

Nutrition makes a difference for IBD sufferers.

Imagine being able to enjoy eating without the constant worry of flare-ups and other pain associated with digestive disorders. You often know what to eat and avoid, but that leaves little inspiration for what you eat daily. While finding exciting and palatable foods may seem impossible, collaborating with a Registered Dietitian can open up your food options.

Working with a Registered Dietitian can help

Working with a Registered Dietitian can help.

A Registered Dietitian can help you learn which foods trigger your symptoms. The focus should be on ADDING nutritious and balanced foods that work for your unique dietary and symptom needs – and ultimately improve your relationship with food. A Dietitian can also help you to navigate supplements that may assist with symptom management and will advocate for the best treatments with your healthcare team.

Nutrition makes a difference for IBD sufferers
Nutrition makes a difference for IBD sufferers

Click here to find a Registered Dietitian that specializes in digestive health.

About the Author: Marissa is a third-year nutrition student at Toronto Metropolitan University pursuing a career as a Registered Dietitian.

Reviewed by: Lindsey McGregor, RD and Hannah Jackson

Images from Unsplash and Pexels

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