The two main types of IBD are Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. These are both autoimmune conditions which cause inflammation along the digestive tract and can have serious consequences. Crohn’s can affect anywhere alone the digestive tract, from mouth to anus, whereas Colitis is confined to the large intestine, or colon.
Treatment for IBD is usually a mix of diet, medication and in some cases surgery. Your doctor can discuss medical treatment and your dietitian can help you with the type of diet that is right for you and the stage of your IBD.
Although diet is not the cause of IBD, it does play a critical role in managing it. Nutrient deficiencies such as low iron, folate, B12 and Vit D are common and need to be assessed and treated. In some cases supplements may be required.
During a “flare up” a short term low residue diet may be recommended. This is usually only a short term requirement and our dietitians can explain what the low residue diet entails and liaise with your specialist to determine when it is appropriate for you to return to normal diet.
When your IBD is in remission, most people can return to a normal diet. Unfortunately for some, despite their IBD being well managed, they still experience gastrointestinal symptoms. In this case, diet can be used to minimise these symptoms and improve quality of life.