BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Crohn's Disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which may result in nutrition problems that impact on patient health, nutritional status and quality of life. Subjective reports of how IBD patients experience these problems as part of their disease process, including comparisons between patient groups, or the need for tailored nutrition advice as perceived by these patients, have not been widely studied. This survey aimed to identify and explore nutritional problems that are important to CD and UC patients and to investigate their views on the IBD health services provided to help them with these.
METHODS: Eighty-seven IBD patients were invited to take part in a nutrition survey using face-to-face questionnaire interviews. The survey asked about food and nutrition problems that patients have experienced, identifying which were most significant and the extent to which they had been addressed by the clinical service.
RESULTS: Seventy-two IBD patients completed the evaluation (47 CD, 25 UC). Of these, 45 (62.5%) felt that food and nutrition were either 'important' or 'extremely important' in their experience of IBD, and 59 (82%) reported problems with food and nutrition. Patients with CD and UC reported similar frequencies of most nutritional problems. However, 44 (94%) CD vs. 16 (64%) UC patients reported problems with weight (p=0.002). Less than half of patients had seen a dietitian for tailored nutritional advice to address these problems.
CONCLUSIONS: Nutritional problems experienced and reported by IBD patients are numerous and varied. They are considered important by patients with CD and UC, both of whom would generally value specific dietary counselling, highlighting a need for further research in this area and adequate and equal provision of services for both groups.