Inflammatory Bowel Disease can cause serious gastrointestinal tract problems that can lead to poor nutritional intake.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, can cause diarrhea, pain and abdominal cramping, reduced appetite and weight loss, fever and fatigue. Dietary changes may help reduce symptoms in some people.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can really limit an active lifestyle. Not to be confused with the less severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), IBD is a group of diseases where the gastrointestinal (GI) tract may be chronically inflamed. People with IBD can suffer from episodic or persistent symptoms that make it hard to carry out everyday activities. The most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Prevalence of IBD is increasing, and nearly 1.3 million people in the United States may be affected.1,2 The cause of IBD is not known but genetics, the immune system, and the environment are all believed to play a role.3 IBD symptoms can be affected by diet and stress, so lifestyle and nutritional changes may be an adjunct to medical therapies to help manage the symptoms.

Good nutrition is important in the management of IBD. Dietary changes may help reduce symptoms. A healthcare provider may recommend that a person make dietary changes, such as avoiding carbonated drinks, popcorn, vegetable skins, nuts, and other high-fiber foods, drinking more liquids, eating smaller meals more often, and keeping a food diary to help identify troublesome foods. Healthcare providers may sometimes recommend nutritional supplements and vitamins for people who do not absorb enough nutrients.

1. Kappelman MD, Rifas-Shiman SL, Kleinman K, Ollendorf D, Bousvaros A, Grand RJ, Finkelstein JA. The prevalence and geographic distribution of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in the United States. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007; 5:1424-9

2. Loftus EV, Jr. Clinical epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease: Incidence, prevalence, and environmental influences. Gastroenterology. 2004; 126:1504-17.

3. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/crohns-disease/Pages/facts.aspx#3

4. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/crohns-disease/Pages/facts.aspx#8

5. http://www.ccfa.org/assets/pdfs/flares_brochure_final.pdf. Accessed December 2014.