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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What should I know about caring for a child with Crohn's disease?

    Our child was diagnosed with Crohn's disease at just eight years of age. What should we know about caring for her? (diet, lifestyle changes, medication, etc)
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  • 1

    Thanks

    Kathy Howson

    Healthshare Member

    Diet will depend on how active the disease is. As Gastro for referral to Nutritionalist.

    Lifestyle will be influenced by how bad symptoms are. Some times anxiety and depression can be a problem for us (we don't like to admit it too much) so if things seem a bit wrong as GP for a referral/care plan for your child to see a psychologist - Medicare does cover the cost of some of it. It will be worth it in years to come.

    Medications can vary and the doctors tend to start with the ones with least serious side effects.

    The best thing you can do as a parent is ask questions of health professionals , never feel fobbed off, be an advocate for your child and reseach the disease so you can learn as much as possible. My mother is still my best advocate when i am really sick and I am not young any more.

    Find and communicate with others with the disease.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Prof. Andrew Day

    Paediatrician

    Paediatric Gastroenterologist View Profile

    There are many important things in caring for a child with Crohn disease.

    Linking in with other parents, giving your child the opportunity to link with other children, ensuring that you learn about Crohn disease  and to ask questions (as well as giving your child the opportunity to learn as she gets older, and to feel comfortable to ask questions).

    You and your child will learn about how Crohn disease affects them - everyone is a little different.

    Having a good well-balanced diet, good sleep and good exercise are key things. Ensuring that your child (and you) manage stress and anxieties well is also very helpful (as stress can be a trigger for relapses of Crohn disease). These things help in keeping their body strong, which helps in keeping the gut well.

    Working in closely with your paediatric gastroenterologist and the team looking after you is also very important.

  • Mel Haynes

    Nutritionist

    Chef, Scientist and Nutritionist. I specialise culinary nutrition and disease prevention with plant based diets. www.culinetica.com.au View Profile

    The best way to assist a child with Crohns Disease is to prevent flare ups.

    As a nutritionist I could suggest some dietary alternatives that have been proven to assist with reducing and preventing Crohn's flare ups.  Whilst fibre is always an ongoing issue, especially with severe and/or chronic flare ups there is little disgussion on the impact of meat.

    This small but very postiive study showed a semi vegetarian diet maintained remission in 92% of patients compared to the control group who had a relapse rate of 63% after two years. (1)

    You can read the diet used in the link below to see if that helps you.

    Turmeric has been shown to effectively and safely treat IBD / UC & CD (2)

    2 Kiwifruit per day (3)

    Avoid Titanium Dioxide (whitening nanoparticles found in hard chewing gum coating) (4)

    By following these few dietary tips you should be able to assist achieve remission, or at least reduce the frequency and severity of flare ups

    Good luck!.


    (1)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2877178/pdf/WJG-16-2484.pdf
    (2)  http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2012/fo/c2fo30097d#!divAbstract
    (3) Hammerle CW, Surawicz CM. Updates on treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. World J Gastroenterol. 2008 May 7; 14(17):2639-49.
    (4)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10648120

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