Nutrition And Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease is the term used for both Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. These conditions may be associated with malnutrition because of such factors as poor appetite, decreased absorption, surgical loss of bowel, intestinal injury and chronic diarrhea. Patients commonly experience weight loss. Vitamin and trace-element deficiency also may occur. If the disorder occurs during childhood, growth failure due to malnutrition must be treated before the potential for normal growth is lost.
Diet can't cure inflammatory bowel disease. Avoiding certain foods, however, may help to control symptoms. Foods that tend to aggravate symptoms include dairy foods high in lactose, such as milk and soft cheeses (in patients who are lactose intolerant), raw fruits and vegetables, spicy foods and nuts.
Specialized, predigested liquid diets (elemental diets) have been used in people with severe Crohn's disease. Because of the bad taste of elemental diets, less highly predigested (polymeric) diets may be tried if the person cannot bear the taste of an elemental diet. Research studies on fish oil to relieve the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and prolong remission in Crohn's disease are promising.
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