DIET AND NUTRITION
You should eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Include enough calories, protein, and nutrients from a variety of food groups.
No specific diet has been shown to make Crohn's symptoms better or worse. Types of food problems may vary from person to person.
Some foods can make diarrhea and gas worse. To help ease symptoms, try:
- Eating small amounts of food throughout the day.
- Drinking lots of water (drink small amounts often throughout the day).
- Avoiding high-fiber foods (bran, beans, nuts, seeds, and popcorn).
- Avoiding fatty, greasy or fried foods and sauces (butter, margarine, and heavy cream).
- Limiting dairy products if you have problems digesting dairy fats. Try low-lactose cheeses, such as Swiss and cheddar, and an enzyme product, such as Lactaid, to help break down lactose.
- Avoiding foods that you know cause gas, such as beans.
Ask your doctor about extra vitamins and minerals you may need, such as:
- Iron supplements (if you are anemic)
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements to help keep your bones strong
- Vitamin B12 to prevent anemia
You may feel worried, embarrassed, or even sad and depressed about having a bowel disease. Other stressful events in your life, such as moving, a job loss, or the loss of a loved one can worsen digestive problems.
Ask your doctor or nurse for tips on how to manage your stress.
You can take medication to treat very bad diarrhea. Loperamide (Imodium) can be bought without a prescription. Always talk to your doctor or nurse before using these drugs.
Other medicines to help with symptoms include:
- Fiber supplements may help your symptoms. You can buy psyllium powder (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel). Ask your doctor before taking these products or laxatives.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for mild pain. Avoid drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) which can make your symptoms worse.
Your doctor may also prescribe medicines to help control Crohn's disease:
- Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs) - medicines that help control mild to moderate symptoms. Some forms of the drug are taken by mouth; others must be given rectally.
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone - treat moderate to severe Crohn's disease. They may be taken by mouth or inserted into the rectum.
- Medicines that quiet the immune system's reaction.
- Antibiotics - treat abscesses or fistulas.
- Biologic therapy- used for severe Crohn's disease that does not respond to any other types of medication.
Some people with Crohn's disease may need surgery to remove a damaged or diseased part of the intestine. In some cases, the entire large intestine is removed, with or without the rectum.
People who have Crohn's disease that does not respond to medications may need surgery to treat problems such as:
- Failure to grow (in children)
- Fistulas (abnormal connections between the intestines and another area of the body)
- Narrowing of the intestine
Surgeries that may be done include:
- Removal of part of the large bowel or small bowel (link to surgery)
- Removal of the large intestine to the rectum.
- Removal of the large intestine and most of rectum