Nutritional therapy

Nutritional therapy can play a role in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. People with ulcerative colitis are less likely than those with Crohn's disease to become malnourished, because the small intestineThe section of gut, or gastrointestinal tract, from the stomach to the anus., where most food absorption takes place, is unaffected.

However, bleeding resulting from inflammationThe body’s response to injury. of the colonThe large intestine. can lead to ironAn element present in haemoglobin in the red cells. deficiency. Prolonged diarrhoeaWhen bowel evacuation happens more often than usual, or where the faeces are abnormally liquid. can cause dehydrationWater deficiency in the body. and deficiencies of important minerals such as magnesium or potassium. Maintaining a good fluid intake is important and you may be advised to increase your intake of certain foods or to take supplements to make up for lost minerals.

It is important to eat a well-balanced diet, avoiding any individual food that is thought to trigger flare-upsTerm to describe episodes when the symptoms of a condition worsen. or make symptoms worse.

See the practical help page on Nutrition in IBD