Nutrition therapy is a way to treat health conditions or their symptoms with a
special diet. Sometimes, nutrition therapy is used instead of standard treatments,
such as medicine. A doctor or registered
can create these diets.
Nutrition therapy is also called medical nutrition therapy.
What Is Enteral Nutrition Therapy for Crohn's Disease?
Crohn's disease is
a type of inflammatory bowel disease
(IBD) that causes
of the intestines. Enteral (EN-tur-ul) nutrition therapy uses a drinkable
formula, such as Boost or Pediasure, to control inflammation and promote
healing in Crohn's disease.
Why Is Enteral Nutrition Therapy Done for Crohn's Disease?
Enteral nutrition therapy is an alternative to steroids and other medicines that
ease the symptoms of Crohn's disease. Steroids can have serious side effects, including
poor growth and increased chance of infections.
Enteral nutrition therapy can help improve nutrition and growth, ease inflammation,
and heal the gastrointestinal tract
How Does Enteral Nutrition Therapy Work?
The two types of nutrition therapy used to manage Crohn's symptoms are:
exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN), also called total
enteral nutrition (TEN): Formula is used for all meals. Plain water and some
other liquids may be allowed.
partial enteral nutrition (PEN): Some food is allowed along with
the formula. This makes the diet easier to follow.
Some kids drink the formula, while others get it through a nasogastric (NG) tube
that runs from the nose into the stomach.
Enteral nutrition therapy helps improve nutrition for people with Crohn's disease.
But it's not clear why and how it works. Providing balanced nutrition with these formulas
might give the gut a chance to heal. It may also work by changing the mix of
that live in the gut. Good bacteria in the gut can help protect the intestinal
lining and regulate the immune system.
How Long Do People Need Enteral Nutrition Therapy?
Kids with Crohn's disease will need to follow this diet for at least 8–12 weeks.
Enteral nutrition therapy can begin at the time of diagnosis or during flare-ups (when
symptoms get worse). This is called induction therapy. Its goal is
to relieve symptoms.
What Happens After Enteral Nutrition Therapy?
After induction therapy, food is slowly added to the child's diet. The amount of
formula decreases as more food is given.
When symptoms are under control, you'll make a plan with your child's doctor to
help keep symptoms under control and prevent flare-ups. On maintenance therapy,
your child may:
have a balance of regular food, special diets, and formula
take maintenance medicines
Your child's doctor and dietitian will help you choose the diet that works best
for your child.
Are There Any Risks From Enteral Nutrition Therapy?
Enteral nutrition therapy is very safe. But it can be hard for kids and teens to
stick with the diet because:
They have to drink the same thing every day without much variety. Allowing some
food may help to keep kids on the diet.