Crohn’s disease is a disorder of the digestive system that causes inflammation and ulcers. Although the inflammation can affect any portion of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus, it is most commonly seen at the end of the small intestine (ileum) and in the large intestine. Around 115,000 people in the UK have Crohn’s disease.
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease can be very mild for a long periods of time, and flare up randomly. Common symptoms include:
- Diarrhoea (which may contain blood)
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
Various other problems can arise outside of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, such as:
- Joint pain
- Skin rashes
Crohn’s disease is the result of various factors. It is thought that a combination of immune, environmental and bacterial factors, occurring in genetically susceptible people, are the cause of the disease.
Crohn’s disease diet
Currently there are no cures for Crohn’s disease, but it is possible to make life easier for sufferers. Although it is mainly genetics that causes Crohn’s, certain foods and drinks can exacerbate symptoms. The foods that trigger symptoms differ from person to person, which can make it difficult knowing what not to eat. One or more of the following foods is likely to be a trigger food:
- Fatty (fried) foods
- Fizzy drinks
- High-fibre foods
- High-sugar foods
- Raw fruits and vegetables
Food diaries are an invaluable practice for people dealing with Crohn’s disease symptoms. Keeping track of all the foods you’ve eaten, and how they were prepared, can help you to identify which foods are triggering symptoms.
If you experience a flare up, go back to the day in question, choose a food that you suspect may have caused the flare up, and expel it from your diet. Over the next few days make a note of if you feel better, and if so you know that that said food is triggering your symptoms.
Using this type of technique is helpful as individuals have different trigger foods. If you don’t want to avoid specific foods that cause symptoms, you can experiment with different preparation techniques that may make them tolerable.