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Crohn's Advice Column

Need Crohn's Diet Advice? No Problem.

Gastroenterologists and nurses aren't the only people who can help people with Crohn’s disease feel better. And many gastroenterologists refer people with Crohn’s to registered dietitians. Registered dietitians who have experience with people with Crohn’s and other inflammatory bowel diseases at all stages and severity can be a valuable resource when it comes to discovering a diet that works for you.

Emily Kalsomine, RD, LDN, recommends all people with Crohn’s see a registered dietitian at least once. People with Crohn’s may have nutritional needs greater than the general public. And even patients who are healthy now can learn from the Crohn’s disease diet advice that may prevent deficiencies that could occur down the road. Based on the severity of the disease and how much support you require, you may or may not decide to see a registered dietitian on a regular basis.

Here’s what you can expect when you see a registered dietitian: no tests and lots of talking.

"First, I try to get a sense of the patient’s concerns," said Kalsomine. “We discuss lifestyle, current medications, bowel habits and flare rates. We cover what the patient eats in a typical day and other nutritional topics—all based on the patient’s individual needs.”

Registered dietitians analyze test results conducted by gastroenterologists to make sure vitamin and mineral levels are within normal limits. If those tests reveal deficiencies, the registered dietitian can help modify a Crohn’s diet to compensate by varying foods or adding supplements. The registered dietitian also can recommend screening for other nutrients that may have been overlooked. (Read more about nutrients important to people with Crohn’s in the Summer 2010 issue of Crohn’s Advocate magazine. Get details »

See also: Doctors and insurance, Videos of people living with Crohn’s, Well-being and Crohn’s