Newly diagnosed with Crohn's or colitis?

Being diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is scary and you may feel very alone.  When I was first diagnosed with Crohn's disease, I didn't know where to turn or how to process the fact I needed an operation and medication. 


As a nutritionist, I immediately thought about what I should be eating to help my gut. My gastro doctor didn't give me advice about what to eat so I read everything I could. There is no cure for IBD but there are a few things you can do to help your body and mind. 

Here are my top tips for people who are newly diagnosed.

Be kind to yourself

Let yourself get your head around this new information and talk to someone that will listen to you. Everyone is different, some people need to read everything they can about IBD whilst others would be overwhelmed by more information. If you are the personality type who does need information, the charity is a great place to start.

Take notes and write down questions

You will be given an IBD nurse to see regularly, so write down advice that they give you, as an appointment might be overwhelming and you could forget things. Write down questions you can ask during your next visit. Write down symptoms you are having and write down numbers and markers for inflammation or vitamin deficiencies from blood/stool tests, so you can see if there is an improvement or not.

Keep a food diary

Do this to help you work out if something is a trigger for you.  Mine is dairy and I no longer have it and I feel so much better. When your gut is inflamed, it is harder to digest certain things so it is best to avoid these things, but when your gut isn't inflamed, you can go back to enjoying them again (if it isn't an intolerance or allergy).

Work out your go-to meals when you are experiencing a flare

Mine is toast but I have heard that other people have scrambled eggs or yoghurt. Everyone is different and it depends on intolerances, preferences and comfort.

Learn about how to improve your gut health

Gut health is important to everyone but especially important to people with IBD. Depending on your intolerances, eat different cultured and fermented products. Make sure you speak to your IBD nurse before taking probiotic supplements and ask for recommendations for brands that have good research. 

Learn about a balanced diet

Are you getting enough protein, are you getting the right carbs, and are you eating good fats? With an inflamed gut, it is harder to absorb vitamins and minerals. What vitamins and minerals are you lacking, do you need a supplement and what brand?

Are you getting enough fibre?

Some people may experience diarrhoea as a symptom whilst others experience constipation. Both need to be treated differently as the people suffering from diarrhoea might not be absorbing nutrients as it is going through their system too fast and people with constipation may need to adjust their fibre intake.

You are now part of a tribe

You are not alone, join a Facebook page, join support groups and talk to other people in the same boat. It may not be as scary as it feels right now.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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