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Lactose Intolerance

Many dairy products can be troublesome for people who are lactose intolerant. Lactose is a natural sugar that's found in many dairy products. If you're lactose intolerant, your body isn't able to digest lactose very well. This can cause nausea, cramps, diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Though lactose intolerance is not caused by your Crohn's disease, it may make your symptoms worse. You may be able to relieve these symptoms by:
  • Eating smaller amounts of dairy products
  • Using a dietary supplement such as Lactaid®
  • Eating dairy products that are easier for your body to digest, like yogurt or low-lactose cheeses such as Swiss or cheddar.
If you plan to reduce the amount of dairy products you eat, be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider. You may need to find other ways to get the calcium and other nutrients that dairy products provide.

Crohn's Diet During Flare-Ups

People with active inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn's disease, can have a reduced appetite, poor digestion, and trouble absorbing nutrients from the food they eat. With time, all of these things can lead to malnutrition. Because of this, good nutrition is especially important if you have Crohn's disease.
To ensure that you are getting enough vitamins and nutrients, your healthcare provider may recommend that you take a vitamin or iron supplement, or prescribe injections, such as vitamin B12. Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you talk to a registered dietitian to help you with any potential problems with your diet.
During periods of chronic diarrhea, you may be at increased risk for dehydration -- which can lead to kidney problems. To avoid dehydration, be sure to drink plenty of water, especially during warm weather. Many healthcare professionals recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water a day.
You may find that sometimes your symptoms are so severe that you can't keep food or liquids down, or your inflamed bowels need a break from digesting food. You might even need to be hospitalized to help you get proper nourishment and fluids (usually through an IV and/or a special diet) until your symptoms lessen.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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