Diets For Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Diets For Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Having any kind of bowel problem is a part of that ‘dirty laundry’ we always don’t want to air in public, even not with the close friends. Right? Inflammatory bowel disease is one of those stigmas attached to this. Besides a well-prescribed treatment, diet is a major concern for people suffering from some form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Before we delve into the various diets suggested for IBD patients, we will have a brief look on what is inflammatory bowel disease for a better understanding of the topic.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The chronic medical condition affects our digestive system producing swelling and inflammation. There are mainly two forms; Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis where former affects the colon and small intestine, latter affects colon or large intestines. 

Although at times, gastrointestinal tract may also be affected. People with IBD experience abdominal discomfort, weight loss and fatigue, diarrhea with blood or pus and other symptoms.

How many people are affected by Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

It is estimated that about 5 million of world population (including 1.5 million Indians) has some form of inflammatory bowel disease. Exact causes of this condition are unknown, however, weak immune system and genetics have been related to IBD.

Diets for patients with inflammatory bowel disease

Diet is considered a major part of IBD treatment. While there isn’t any specific diet for all the IBD patients, these four diets are often prescribed to patients.

Clear Liquid Diet

Clear liquid diet as the name denotes, clearly defines the transparency of food and drink means we cannot see anything floating in the liquid such as bits of foods, pulp or other things, thus. These mechanically altered diets are often prescribed after abdominal surgery to ease the gastrointestinal system and make it capable of processing food again.

This diet has been designed for shorter period of time and if a patient shows improvement after taking clear diet, he might be recommended a full liquid diet.

Full Liquid Diet

This diet is usually recommended for those patients who have progressed from their clear liquid diet. Full liquid diet is simply a next small step towards solid foods. It basically consists of soupy and syrupy food to prevent any sort of abdominal stress. 

This type of diet includes creamy and thick foods such as milk, pudding, etc.
Full liquid diet can be a problem for lactose intolerant people but they can opt for substitutes such as almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, etc.

Lactose-Free Diet

Lactose intolerance affects about 60 percent of the world population. The symptoms can be mild from severe depending on person to person. Some of the symptoms are diarrhea, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, etc. which often is difficult to differentiate from the symptoms of IBD.

Lactose-free diet is actually the very first method of treating IBD to check if the symptoms resolve after a certain period of time. Lactose-free diet does not mean one has to compromise on calcium, protein, and minerals found in dairy milk. There are a plethora of lactose-free products available to fulfill nutritional needs.

Low Fiber Diet

This type of diet is usually recommended during flare-ups. It could also be recommended before and after surgery to decrease the bowel stress of the body. Product made from grains, fruit juices, fresh vegetables (except cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.) and well-cooked meat, fish and eggs, all form the part of low fiber diet.

Your doctor can decide the best diet plan for you when it comes to treating IBD. These special diets are for a limited time period not a long-term strategy. After you have recovered, you can have normal diet.