Colitis Home > Crohn's Disease Diet
Diet Changes for a Narrowed IntestineIf your doctor finds that you have a narrowed section of intestine, called a "stricture," he or she may recommend that you go on a low-fiber diet until the inflammation in your digestive tract goes down. Some people also call this a "low-residue" diet. This type of diet may help relieve abdominal pain (or stomach pain) and other symptoms.
You can reduce the amount of fiber you eat by avoiding foods like fruits and vegetables, bran, seeds, and whole grains. However, you should still try to eat a healthy diet. Your doctor may recommend that you talk to a dietitian to help you with this.
Preventing Osteoporosis as Part of a Crohn's Disease DietPeople with Crohn's disease are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis (bone thinning). In fact, 30-60 percent of people with Crohn's disease may have low bone density, which puts them at significant risk for osteoporosis.
People with Crohn's disease are often treated with glucocorticoids (prednisone or cortisone) to reduce the inflammation caused by their disease. Over time, these drugs interfere with the bone remodeling process and calcium balance. Bone loss increases as the dose of glucocorticoids gets bigger and the duration of therapy gets longer.
Individuals with Crohn's disease who have extensive inflammation in the small intestine (and/or have parts of the small intestine surgically removed) may have difficulty absorbing calcium and vitamin D.
Diet (along with other strategies) can play a role in preventing osteoporosis. Some recommendations for optimizing bone health include:
- A balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. In most cases, 1000 mg of calcium per day is recommended.
- Weight-bearing exercises. Young people who exercise regularly achieve greater peak bone mass (maximum bone density and strength) than those who do not.
- A healthy lifestyle with no smoking or excessive alcohol intake. Smoking and alcohol are linked to bone loss.
- Bone density testing and medication (see Osteoporosis Medications). Your doctor may also recommend these if you are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis.
(Click Crohn's and Osteoporosis for more information.)