Crohn’s disease: Four dairy products to avoid helping to reduce painful flare-ups

Amy Dowden opens up about her battle with Crohn's disease

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Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of a person’s digestive tract and can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Diet is key when it comes to managing this condition. With that in mind, eating any of these four dairy products may increase painful symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic advises people with Crohn’s disease to limit dairy products or avoid them altogether.

This is because lactose intolerance tends to coincide with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Lactose, a type of milk sugar, can increase your risk for gas or abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

High-fat foods can also be more difficult to digest.

Four dairy products to avoid include:

  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Full-fat dairy
  • Margarine.

One study showed the frequency of lactose intolerance was 28.6 percent, and among Crohn’s disease patients and 35.3 percent were considered intolerant.

The exact reasons for this were not known.

It is also thought that some people with IBD (particularly those with Crohn’s disease affecting the small bowel) have a disruption in the production of lactase (which is needed to break down lactose), particularly when they are having a flare.

This disruption can be temporary or permanent.

Another study published in the National Library of Health further investigated the effects of dairy products on Crohn’s disease symptoms.

Dairy products have been perceived as having the potential to cause adverse effects in individuals with Crohn’s disease (CD).

The study involved 165 men and women diagnosed with CD, with an analysis on whether there were significant differences in symptomatic responses depending on individual dairy products consumed.

The study found dairy products with a high fat content were most frequently reported to worsen perceived CD symptoms.

“Clinically, self-reported CD activity status did not influence responses to dairy products; however, colonic inflammation was more frequently associated with adverse CD effects in comparison to ileal CD involvement,” said the study.

Other foods to avoid if suffering with Crohn’s disease include:

  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • High-fibre fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Alcohol and caffeine
  • Sweeteners
  • Dairy
  • Spicy foods.

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