IBD in industrialized countries is increasing, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Stomach cramps, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite. A series of conditions can produce these symptoms. That is why it can be difficult to accurately diagnose and treat "serious problems".
Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are two types of similar digestive disorders under the heading of inflammatory bowel disease or IBD. (Not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which produces similar symptoms but without visible damage to the digestive tract as is common with IBD).
IBD is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body's own immune system attacks the lining of the intestines and causes painful irritation, diarrhea and bleeding. In ulcerative colitis, only the colon or large intestine is affected. Crohn's disease can affect any part of the intestinal tract.
What causes IBD? In addition to an overactive immune system, we are still not sure. It seems that there is a genetic link (the disease is more common in people of Jewish descent). Somewhat distressing is that the incidence of IBD in industrialized countries is increasing, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Emotional distress does not seem to cause IBD, although some studies found that stress can aggravate symptoms. A diet high in fat can also slightly increase the risk.
Blood and stool tests and the scope (endoscopy) of the intestines are the common ways to diagnose IBD. Once diagnosed, medications and diet can help curb symptoms.
Because the body's cells that absorb nutrients are damaged by IBD, nutrition is vitally important. Most people with this condition require additional vitamins and minerals from the supplements; Chewable or liquid forms are generally recommended.
Small meals and regular snacks throughout the day are generally better tolerated than large meals. And skip fried fast foods as much as possible.
To help heal inflamed tissues in the intestine, protein foods should be part of every meal. Think of easily digested products, such as eggs, tofu, fish, chicken, yogurt, tender lean meat and milk without lactose.
Foods rich in fiber may need to be limited during the active stages of IBD; They can irritate an already inflamed digestive tract. Bananas, melons, cooked vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes can provide a soothing food for the irritated bowel.
Water and other unsweetened, unsweetened beverages are extremely important for hydrating intestinal cells and replenishing fluids lost due to diarrhea. Aim for at least 8 cups a day. Drink, do not swallow.
To maintain the balance of bacteria that fight diseases in the intestines, include foods that contain probiotics such as kefir or yogurt and prebiotics (the food for good bacteria) that include bananas, watermelon (no seeds, please) and almond butter.
As always, seek individualized attention with a gastroenterologist (specialist in digestive diseases) and a registered dietitian nutritionist.
Tribune News Service