Font Size
A
A
A

Diet and Nutrition for Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Diet and Nutrition for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Most people with inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease) can eat a normal diet and do not need to avoid any particular foods. But the following suggestions may be helpful. Some situations require extra attention to your diet.

  • If you find that foods such as milk, alcohol, spicy foods, or foods high in fiber bother you, it makes sense to avoid them. A low-fiber diet may be helpful if a section of your small intestine is narrowed because of inflammation or scarring from Crohn's disease. But you don't need to avoid any food that does not make your symptoms worse.
  • Some people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be lactose intolerant. This means they may not be able to eat dairy foods, which contain lactose.
  • Eat a diet that includes plenty of nutrients. Vitamin or mineral supplements usually are not needed as long as you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. In Crohn's disease, absorption problems can occur with vitamin B12 in the lower small intestine and with iron in the upper small intestine. Some people with rectal bleeding also may lose iron.
  • When symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend supplemental nutrition, such as high-calorie liquid formulas. This may be needed especially for children whose growth is slow or for people who have Crohn's disease in large areas of the small intestine.
  • If the disease is so severe that your intestines are not able to absorb enough nutrients from food, your doctor may recommend other ways to get nutrition. You may receive nutrition through a needle in a vein (total parenteral nutrition, TPN). TPN often requires an initial hospital stay, after which you or a family member can learn to do it at home.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerArvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last RevisedOctober 8, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary