Common digestive diseases
WHAT IS CROHN’S & ULCERATIVE COLITIS?
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). In Crohn’s disease, inflammation can spread from the mouth to the anus while in ulcerative colitis, it only affects the colon and rectum. The inflammation affects the body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrients and eliminate waste, in a healthy way.
Common symptoms of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis
- Abdominal pain and diarrhoea
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Feeling generally unwell. Some people may have a raised temperature and feel feverish.
- Mouth ulcers
- Anaemia (if you are losing blood, eating less, or inability to absorb the nutrients from the foods)
Test for Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
A series of tests is needed to diagnose Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis, these can include the following.
- Blood test
- Stool sample
Manage Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis symptoms with diet
You may come across diets that claim to cure Crohn’s or Colitis, but there isn’t any evidence to prove that these work. However a dietitian/ nutritionist can help you manage your symptoms (pain, diarrhoea, constipation, dehydration, fatigue, prevent nutritional deficiencies) in periods of flares or remission.
Writing a food diary with your symptoms will be very handy to help you when you will speak with your dietitian to make change in your diet to alleviate the symptoms.
Make sure to have all blood test results readily available when speaking to your dietitian.
Your colitis dietitian will create a plan for you to feel better, and may recommend a few supplements if needed.
WHAT IS COELIAC DISEASE
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease in which the body reacts abnormally in response to the ingestion of gluten.
Common symptoms of coeliac disease
- Severe or occasional diarrhoea and/or constipation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain, cramping or bloating
- Any combination of iron, Vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency
- Sudden or unexpected weight loss
Some people may not experience any symptoms at all, and if left untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems.
Test for coeliac disease
- Have a blood test done to check for antibodies (IgA & tTG) as these can indicate coeliac disease. It is important not to remove gluten from your diet at least 6 weeks prior to testing. It is possible to have a negative test and yet still have coeliac disease. If you have ongoing symptoms, test for IgA deficiency.
- Gut biopsy: if you have a positive blood test for coeliac disease, you will be referred to a gut specialist. Do not remove gluten from your diet yet as this test will confirm whether or not you have coeliac disease.
Where do I find gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.
Manage coeliac disease symptoms with diet
A strict gluten-free diet it is the only treatment for coeliac disease and this diet will heal your body and remove all symptoms.
A coeliac disease dietitian will help you:
- Learn about food labelling so you can choose and buy gluten-free foods
- Understand cross contamination of gluten particles so you can cook safely at home
- Create a meal plan to help you create delicious gluten-free recipes.
WHAT IS DIVERTICULITIS
Diverticulitis is an infection found in your large intestine (colon). These are small outgrowths, like small, ball-like “pockets” located in different parts of the large intestine.
Common symptoms of diverticulitis
- Severe tummy pain, usually in your lower left side
- Constipation and/ or diarrhoea, or both
- Blood in your stools
Test for diverticulitis
- CT Scan
Manage diverticulitis symptoms with diet
Mild diverticulitis is treated with antibiotics and a liquid-only diet to help your colon heal.
A diet high in fibre and a healthy lifestyle will help you lower the risk of developing diverticulitis. Speak to our digestive dietitian specialist today to help you manage diverticulitis or to assess your symptoms if you are unsure of your condition.
Watch this 3 minutes video to understand what diverticulitis is.