Most inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients report benefits from restricting their diet during flares. However, restricting your diet can put you at an increased risk of dehydration and protein-calorie malnutrition. Most patients need more calories, but tend to restrict their diet to eat more foods to decrease stool output and have fewer symptoms . While this is a short term solution, it is important to know how to manage your symptoms during a flare while also getting adequate nutrition to prevent these potential risks.
Every IBD patient is different - disease varies from one patient to the next, they experience different symptoms, and have varying food reactions. Each person is different, so it is important to listen to your body. Some individuals find that they cannot tolerate foods during the flare that they otherwise can normally tolerate. Once you figure out your potential triggers, it is best to avoid those foods that worsen your flare symptoms until the flare subsides. These are some foods that commonly increase symptoms during a flare:
Liquids are often tolerated better than solids, therefore, supplements may be something to consider.
After your flare, you should gradually add foods back into your diet. Start slowly and eat small portions. Try adding back one food at a time. Sometimes patients may have anxiety over particular foods which will take time to recover from. You can always make an appointment with your Registered Dietitian to help you get back on track with your nutrition and help give you guidance to prevent nutritional deficiencies.