Several potential causes of the resurgence of inflammatory bowel symptoms exist.
Diseases of the bowels can really limit an active lifestyle. Not to be confused with the less severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of diseases where the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are chronically inflamed. People with IBD can suffer from episodic or persistent symptoms that make it hard to carry out everyday activities. The most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).1
The cause of IBD is not known but genetics, the immune system and the environment all play a role. IBD symptoms can be affected by diet and stress, so lifestyle and nutritional changes might be able to help. At Nestlé Health Science, we devote a significant proportion of our research efforts to nutritional therapies for GI disorders, including IBD. In this way, we aim to help people manage their condition better.
Some people with IBD may be aware that certain foods aggravate symptoms. Commonly, symptoms can be made worse by dairy, fatty foods, spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol, and even too much fiber. Since IBD can cause restrictions in the GI tract, eating easy-to-digest foods is important. Following the dietary instruction for any medication is also crucial, as drug-food interactions can affect symptoms. And because undesired weight loss can occur, especially when symptoms flare up, people with IBD should ensure adequate nutritional and fluid intake through more frequent, smaller meals or nutritional supplements, if necessary.
- Mayo Clinic. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease/basics/definition/con-20034908. Accessed: March 2016.
- Ng SC. Epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease: focus on Asia. Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2014;28:363-72.
- Tan CC, Kang JY, Guan R, et al. Inflammatory bowel disease: an uncommon problem in Singapore. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1992;7:360-2.
- Thia KT, Luman W, Jin OC. Crohn's disease runs a more aggressive course in young Asian patients. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2006;12:57-61.
- Lee YM, Fock K, See SJ, et al. Racial differences in the prevalence of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease in Singapore. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2000;15:622-5.
*Listed symptoms are not all-inclusive; actual patient symptoms may vary.