Ulcerative colitis or crohn's? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 05-13-2012, 11:29 AM
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It's been a long time since I've posted. My daughter's health has been crazy and so has mine. I've been having a lot of digestive issues and just had a colonoscopy the other day showing ulcers (well, at least it isn't cancer!). Doctor said I probably have either ulcerative colitis or crohn's disease, but the biopsies will confirm it and I'll know more at my follow-up appointment.

The packet I left with had a bunch of "care grams" on how I should be eating, but they are all contradictory. One says eat a high fiber diet, the other says eat a low fiber diet. One says avoid whole grains and just eat white bread, the other says stick to whole grains.

I've googled it and come up with the specific carbohydrate diet, but it doesn't tell me a lot and the "intro diet" is full of meat and jello...no thanks!

I also go for an endoscopy later this month since I have reflux issues (which was mainly solved through cutting meat out of my diet, but I still don't consider it "normal" that I have to watch every little thing I put in my mouth!). He will biopsy there too, to check for celiac's (I've cut out gluten for several weeks with no change in symptoms).

Anyway, while waiting for these tests to be done I fell off the wagon a bit, but didn't seem to get any worse or better. I'm back on the wagon now (aside from falling off for a few months, I've been veg*n for over 2 years) and have been drinking green smoothies, doing fresh juice that I make at home, and just generally trying to get the fruits and veggies in. I've also started drinking one of those little goodbelly probiotic + multivitamin shots every day.

Does anyone know if diet really even helps, aside from avoiding known triggers (I haven't pinpointed any yet)?
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#2 Old 05-15-2012, 01:40 AM
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It can help to keep a food journal and note whenever you get symptomatic to see if there's a good tie-in, trigger foods you can avoid. Common triggers of ulcerative colitis are alcohol, popcorn, seeds and nuts, dairy products, and high fat foods. Crohn's patients sometimes have issues with raw and gas-producing foods like legumes as well.

The frustrating thing is that no diet plan seems to work for everyone. Avoiding your personal trigger foods is the key. I guess while awaiting the diagnosis and the suggested food plans, I would eat low fat, lightly spiced, lower sodium, cooked healthy foods. Chew well to aid digestion. Steamed veggies, applesauce, potatoes, whatever you can eat that doesn't bother your belly.

And meditation, yoga, long walks-take care of yourself. Hope you get this under control soon!
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#3 Old 05-16-2012, 03:29 PM
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A family member has UC - IBD is not caused by diet, so changing what you eat can't really make you better, but certain foods may make things worse. What worked for him was a low-residue or sort of a modified BRAT diet - basically while his symptoms were bad, he avoided any whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits or veggies that weren't cooked until very soft (applesauce or soft soups/stews would be ok). Lots of white rice, white bread, tofu, faux meats (varieties without while grains or veggies in them). If you eat dairy and don't have lactose intolerance, dairy products would also be ok. For a while he kept a food journal, as he would find foods might effect his symptoms 2-3 days later, which is hard to keep track of.

I would avoid the greens and fruit juice until you are sure how it affects you - greens like kale can make symptoms worse for some people, unfortunately. You can reintroduce them at a time when you're feeling better. Fruit juice can cause abdominal cramping for many people (with or without IBD). Plus raw fruits and veggies might carry E. coli and other nasty stuff -- the risk is small, but while you are still having severe symptoms it might be better to avoid that possibility.

If it turns out to be UC, VSL #3 is a good probiotic that has been well studied and shown to be effective. It is a lot more concentrated than your average probiotic.
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#4 Old 05-17-2012, 08:46 AM
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I've been blending my greens into smoothies...does that help with digesting them, or is it best to remove them altogether? My grandma said my aunt who died of colon cancer had trouble with greens and my sister who has IBD also does. According to my grandma and sister it's more of an issue of them going through whole and tearing them up. So I was thinking if they are already broken down some, I could get by with it.

I also assumed juicing would be a good way to get nutrients without too much insoluble fiber to tear me up...bad idea? Ugh. I don't want to stop eating well because of this! I LOVE my blender and juicer!!! *cries*

The weird thing about all of this is I have ZERO pain. Nothing "hurts" me, but I definitely have ulcers that are bleeding. I can eat anything (well besides straight dairy, like milk or ice cream...that will have me doubled over in cramps for hours) and not have any issues.

I already quit eating anything that is likely to not break down easily like corn, whole nuts and seeds, etc.
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#5 Old 05-17-2012, 09:25 AM
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I would say as long as you are still having bleeding, try to go on as bland a diet as possible. I don't think there is sufficient evidence to say whether blending greens renders them non-irritating or not. I'm not saying you must give them up, or have to give them up forever, but I do think it would be a good idea to take a break for a couple of weeks and see if your symptoms improve. I'm not a big proponent of juices overall, but I would definitely recommend pasteurized juice to reduce the risk of bacterial illness, and only in small quantities. Many fruit juices are high in fructose, which can cause diarrhea, cramping, and presumably more irritation of the colon in people with fructose malabsorption (about 30% of the population). If you don't have any diarrhea or cramping, it's hard to say whether or not fruit juice might be harmful. I haven't heard much about veggie juice and IBD or other GI problems - there is a small study showing that wheatgrass juice may be helpful in UC (article here), and my family member with UC does take a dried wheatgrass supplement. Wheatgrass can give people abdominal cramps though, so weigh that option carefully.

Overall, there is a huge lack of data about diet in IBD, so please take this with a grain of salt. Probably the best advice is food journaling. Hopefully you are on some medication that will start to work soon. I would imagine your biopsy results should be available within a few days as well, so you'll hopefully have some answers.
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#6 Old 06-12-2012, 06:04 PM
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My boyfriend has Celiac - he doesn't necessarily feel an immediate change right after eating gluten. With Celiac you have to allow a gluten-free diet time to work in order to experience remission and it requires ABSOLUTE COMPLIANCE. Just wait for the biopsy results. I also have a colonoscopy coming up for suspected Crohn's. I hope everything goes well for you. hug.gif
 

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#7 Old 06-12-2012, 07:41 PM
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Hi, as someone who has been diagnosed before with crohns/colitis/ibs I highly recommend this book:

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0971752656/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0971752613&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=022VEM54KHJGBQWSW55E

 

If it is crohns avoid salads and leafy greens in general. If you want them you need to juice them the fiber is way too harsh on your system. Other notable things to avoid dairy, gluten, fried stuff, sodas, candy. Just eat real foods. Sweet potatoes, yucca, ripped bananas, avocados and pretty much anything you can mash is helpful. Im sure there are other things but its escaped my mind right now. 

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