About Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic life long, incurable IBD (Intestinal Bowel Disease) that is caused due to the inflammation of the digestive or gastrointestinal tract of the body. Crohn’s Disease can affect any part of GI ranging from mouth to the anus, but in majority of the cases it Crohn’s Disease affects the ending of small intestine, i.e. Ilium.
8 Important Questions You Should Ask Your Dietician If You Are A Crohn’s Patient
Q1. Should you be following a specific diet?
A: Though there are several dietary plans being designed by the dieticians and doctors for Crohn`s disease, yet there still isn’t any scientific evidence or proof which supports any specific diet plan over the other. However, few patients of Crohn`s disease have backed up the advantages of few diets like a Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a low FODMAP diet and also a purely vegetarian or plant based diet. A Study called as the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology reiterated that children who were put on the Specific Carbohydrate diet for a period of 12 weeks had shown reduced symptoms of Crohn`s disease and even their microbiomes (good bacteria) had improved.
Q2. Which food items to cut down or avoid?
A. You should be very particular as far as your eating habits are concerned and this question must be surely put on the table. Deciding what & what not to consume is different with every other Crohn’s patient. Many patients found that avoiding lactose and gluten in their diet helped them in easing the symptoms of Crohn’s disease . Few patients also found that cutting down on the fat and fiber content in their foods helps in reducing their symptoms.
Q3. How to prevent cramps after eating food?
A: Cramps after eating food is one of the unpleasant side effects of Crohn`s disease. Plan a diet with your doctor or dietician to bring some changes in your diets so that these cramps can be eliminated or at least reduced. You can try these changes to prevent cramping after eating food:
- Eat smaller meals every 3-4 hours.
- Avoid high fat and oily food items.
- Avoid dairy products or if consuming eat them in less quantities.
- Foods rich in fiber like whole nuts, popcorn, seeds etc. shouldn’t be consumed.
Q4. What are the nutrients you need the most and how to get them?
A: Since Crohn`s patients have to limit their food intake and be conscious of whatever they are eating, a confusion rightly prevails in their minds regarding how do they get the required essential nutrients. A Crohn’s patient must definitely ask his/her dietician to list down the food items or eatables that are rich in minerals and vitamins and which are easily digested. The most crucial nutrients to enquire about are Vitamin A, B12, E, K, folic acid, iron, calcium, zinc etc. Your body essentially requires these vitamins in order to combat the mental and physical fatigue that is common with Crohn’s patients.
Q5. What to do if diarrhea occurs?
A: Diarrhea is one of the common side effects of Crohn’s flare ups and you should be prepared in advance regarding it so that you exactly know which food items to eat and which eatables to avoid in order to ease Crohn’s symptoms. In diarrhea, hydration is one of the most important aspects to focus upon. It’s very important to replenish the lost liquids from the body. Specifically consume fluids high in glucose content. That would help the body in regaining the lost liquid.
Q6. What if you don’t feel like eating or these is loss of appetite?
A: Loss of appetite is common in diarrhea and so are the intestinal cramps which are the side effects of Crohn`s disease. However, prolonged loss of appetite can render weakness in the body. Ask your dietician for a specific diet plan to follow if you feel loss of appetite or just do not feel like eating. Have a separate diet chart for this situation. A dietician in such cases would generally focus on high calorie foods, which have to be taken in small amounts at regular intervals so that the body easily digests all of it.
Q7. Should you keep a food journal?
A: Keeping a food journal when suffering from Crohn’s disease is a very valuable tool, as it not only notes down the effect of food items which you are consuming, but it also helps the dietician to pin point which food items are affecting you. Ask your dietician whether you should keep a food journal in order to track down the effect of the food you have taken as keeping a proper record of it helps in avoiding foods which trigger Crohn’s disease flare ups.
Q8. What rules to strictly follow when dealing with Crohn?
A: As a Crohn’s patient, you will have to follow certain set of rules as far as your eating habits are concerned and these rules change from person to person. A food item that ill affects an individual can be advantageous to another Crohn’s patient. You need to devise up a set of rules regarding your dietary habits so that your symptoms do not aggravate in any case whatsoever.