IBD and DAIRY
IBD and DAIRY
by Jeff Nathanson, M.D.
One of the biggest challenges for gastroenterologists caring for patients with inflammatory bowel disease is sorting out whether symptoms reflect a true IBD “flare” or are due to some other cause. A recent study suggests that one underappreciated mimicker of inflammatory bowel disease symptoms is lactose intolerance.
Using a commercial database to analyze the electronic health records of 34 million Americans, Dr. Miguel Regueiro, MD and his colleagues at the Cleveland Clinic found patients with IBD were four times as likely to experience symptoms of lactose intolerance than patients without IBD.
Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, and gas – all symptoms that can also be attributed to active inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease. Importantly, as Dr. Regueiro points out, “Our understanding is that IBD probably lends to lactose intolerance rather than lactose intolerance causing IBD.”
In patients with IBD, it is the job of the gastroenterologist to first assess for inflammation before making any changes in treatment. If there is no objective evidence of inflammation, then other causes of symptoms must be considered. Questions about dairy consumption should be asked and, if suspected, a short trial of a lactose free diet will likely be all that is needed to sort out whether dairy is the culprit.
To learn more about the Dr. Regueiro’s study, please refer to:
If you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and would like to learn more about your condition and, in particular, its relationship with diet, please schedule an appointment with one of the IBD Physicians, Nurse Practitioner or Registered Dietitians. You may contact us at 224-407-4400 or online at www.compgihealth.com.