Eating in Public

For some Crohn’s sufferers, eating out in public may seem like a daunting proposition. With a little planning, however, it needn’t be a minefield.

Nutrition is an issue of special concern for people with Crohn’s disease. Because it affects the digestive system, Crohn’s may interfere with appetite. Even if a sufferer is able to eat a balanced diet, some forms of Crohn’s can interfere with the digestive tract’s ability to absorb nutrients, putting them at risk for malnourishment.

Nutritional Support

Some people with Crohn’s disease who have inflammation of the small intestine may experience difficulty absorbing fats from their diet—and up to 40 percent of people with Crohn’s will experience some difficulty absorbing carbohydrates. These sufferers may require nutritional support. 

In order to get enough calories and nutrients each day, they may require overnight feeding with a liquid nutrient formula. This enriched formula can be delivered through a (nasogastric) tube that is threaded through the nose directly into the stomach or small bowel. This type of nutritional support is called “enteral nutrition.” Another variation involves surgically implanting a tube directly into the stomach through the abdominal wall. Known as a gastrostomy, this procedure bypasses the discomfort some may experience with daily insertion and removal of a nasogastric tube through the nostrils.

In either case, patients are free to choose to eat solid foods without fear of becoming severely malnourished. There’s no reason why Crohn’s patients can’t enjoy going out to eat.

What’s on the Menu?

Every Crohn’s sufferer is different. Generally, any food that can be tolerated is probably OK to eat, whether it’s at home or out in public. Of course, choosing healthful foods is always a good idea.

If you’