Can my diet really help my IBD?

Can my diet really help my IBD?

Many IBD patients suffer from gastrointestinal issues such as loose bowels, bloating, abdominal pain, gas and wind. Sometimes these are caused by Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which people may have in conjunction to IBD. Whilst dietary changes, such as a low FODMAP diet, won’t cure your IBD, it can certainly play a role in helping to manage symptoms such as these. Your dietitian can educate you on how to trial a low FODMAP diet to see if symptoms improve.

In some cases of IBD, dietary changes can be used as sole therapy.

In the cases where drug therapy isn’t working as well as planned, or dietary therapy hasn’t been trialed, there are some dietary options used to treat IBD. Both may be an option in some cases, but your gastroenterologist can help decide which one might be an option for you.

Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN)

EEN therapy is when only liquid formula is consumed to allow the bowel to heal and recover. Studies have shown similar benefits using EEN to that of corticosteroids for induction of remission in Crohn’s disease. The main advantage of EEN is avoiding some of the side effects that steroids and medications can cause, as well as the nutritional benefit the formulas can provide. The main disadvantage is the restrictive liquid formula diet.

Partial Enteral Nutrition with Crohn’s Disease Exclusion Diet (PEN-CDED)

PEN-CDED is a combination of oral formula, along with certain specified foods. These foods are least likely to aggravate IBD. It is a two-phase, 12-week diet, that is designed to rest the bowel and allow healing to take place, all whilst maintaining adequate nutrition.


Contributed by Nick Wray and Jenny Carney