A well-balanced diet goes hand in hand with good health. What you choose to eat will have a great impact on how healthy you are. Food choices even play a huge role in the management of illnesses and diseases. The right diet is important for the prevention and treating of diseases like Ischemic Colitis. Ischemic Colitis diet will aid in the management of your symptoms. It will also enhance your recovery process. Even doctors have agreed that the treatment of Ischemic Colitis is much more effective when combined with diet management.
Surprisingly, Ischemic Colitis is a very common condition. It is responsible for 1 out of every 1,000 hospital admissions. Most of the people that have Ischemic Colitis are people above 60 years old. It seems the older you grow, the more you are at risk of having Ischemic Colitis. The good news is that a long-term diet plan works fine as a preventive measure. This comes as no surprise because Ischemic Colitis is a disease of the colon. Your colon (or large intestine) is part of your digestive system.
How to Manage Ischemic Colitis
Ischemic Colitis occurs when there is a shortage of blood supply to your large intestine. When this happens, there is also a shortage in the supply of oxygen and nutrient. Symptoms of Ischemic Colitis can range from mild to severe.
In most cases, Ischemic Colitis is a temporary condition. Usually, it resolves by itself within a few days. But there are times that it becomes a chronic (long-term) problem. When this happens, it is important to go for proper treatment.
The treatment for Ischemic Colitis includes the following:
- Medication – Usually pain relief and antibiotics
- Intravenous fluids, to prevent dehydration
- A liquid diet
Asides the basic treatments above, you may need to include other treatments. This will be determined by whether or not you have an underlying condition. Underlying medical conditions that may need treatment include the following:
- Low blood pressure
- Congestive heart failure
- Narrowing of the blood vessels of your intestines
- Blood clots in your intestines
The above conditions may be the reason why you have Ischemic Colitis in the first place. That is why they are called ‘underlying’ conditions. Any underlying condition should be treated alongside the Ischemic Colitis.
Sometimes, Ischemic Colitis may start suddenly with severe symptoms. This is called Acute Ischemic Colitis. Urgent treatment is usually needed in such cases. Acute Ischemic Colitis is treated as a medical emergency. Surgery may even be required.
You know why acute Ischemic Colitis is a medical emergency? The symptoms are always very severe. More importantly, if nothing is done, your large intestine may start to decay (gangrene). This may lead to many more complications, including death.
However, you can’t treat Ischemic Colitis without some dietary regulations. It doesn’t matter whether you take medications or have to go for surgeries. Dietary recommendations will surely be included in the management of your illness.
Ischemic Colitis Diet: Clear liquid diet is recommended
Ischemic Colitis diet will aid your treatment in two ways. First, there are certain foods that help control the severity of the disease. These are the kinds of food that you should eat. Second, certain foods trigger the symptoms. You should avoid these ones.
How often you eat is also important in managing Ischemic Colitis. You should eat smaller portions of food, and eat more frequently. This helps a lot in managing the symptoms.
Eating large chunks of food is not advisable. It may increase the workload on your digestive system. This can, in turn, trigger and worsen food is not your symptoms.
As mentioned earlier, a clear liquid diet is one of the main treatments for Ischemic Colitis. You should switch to clear liquid diet immediately after an episode of Ischemic Colitis. A clear liquid diet may include the following:
- Carbonated beverages
- Clear soft drinks
- Clear Juices (e.g. white grape, cranberry, or apple juice)
- Popsicles (should not contain pulp, yogurt, or pieces of fruit)
- Plain gelatin
Can alcohol also be included in a clear liquid diet? No, it can’t. Alcohol may worsen your symptoms. So you should definitely stay away from it.
Your digestive system can easily digest clear liquids. More importantly, they provide adequate electrolytes necessary for your health. In addition, they are a good source of hydration. You won’t miss much when you take only clear liquids.
However, clear liquids are not a good source of calories. They are also not a good source of protein and fiber. More so, they usually lack vitamins and minerals. A clear liquid diet is, therefore, a highly restrictive diet.
You should only follow clear liquid diet recommendations for a short period of time. Probably, take it for just two to three days at most. It is not safe to continue taking it for an extended period of time.
Other Dietary Recommendations for Ischemic Colitis
As good as clear liquids are, you can’t take only clear liquids for too long. After a few days of clear liquids, you can begin to eat some other foods. However, such foods must be carefully chosen. They must be foods that are easily digestible.
Easily digestible foods will not impose a huge workload on your digestive system. It is best to start with a low-residue diet. Residue refers to the undigested food (mostly fiber) that makes up stool.
Low-residue foods have little to no tough fibers. As such, they reduce bowel movement. This allows your colon to rest while it heals up.
Low-residue foods supply more nutrients than clear liquids. Yet, they impose minimal stress on the digestive system. An example of a low-residue diet is a well-cooked vegetable. You should remove the skin and seed of the vegetable before cooking.
Fish is another example of a low-residue diet. Whitefish and salmon are good choices. You can also eat tofu.
Other low-residue foods that are good for ischemic colitis are as follows:
- Fresh fruit (e.g. bananas, apple, watermelon, and honeydew)
- Whole grains
- Porridge and other soft meals
- Noodles and refined pasta
- Cooked potatoes (The skin should be removed)
Besides, you should chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. This way, you would have broken it down very well. It becomes easier for your digestive system to process the food.
Furthermore, Ischemic colitis is an inflammatory disease. So it is better to stay away from foods that can trigger inflammation. Examples of such foods include spicy foods or foods that are acidic in nature. Caffeine, for example, should be avoided because it can increase stomach acid.
At the end of the day, there is one sure way to improve the symptoms of Ischemic Colitis. Simply, you should eat a well-balanced diet of fresh, whole foods. You will benefit fully from medications when you follow Ischemic Colitis diet recommendations.