Valentine’s Day Tips for People with IBD or GERD

Valentine's Day can hold some pitfalls for those with digestive issues.  Some of the rich dinners, candies and other goodies that are closely associated with this special day can, unfortunately, contribute to GI problems- especially for people with GERD or IBD.  

We've talked before about chocolate candy, which is a triple threat for those battling GERD because it is high in cocoa, fat, and stimulants.  But the sugar in chocolates can also be triggering for people with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.  In addition, It may irritate the digestive tract and cause more bathroom trips.    

The same is true of wine and many other forms of alcohol, which can trigger diarrhea in people with IBD and increase the chances of heartburn in those who struggle with acid reflux or GERD. 

Fatty meats/red meats can trigger ulcerative colitis symptoms.  Because red meat often has a higher percentage of fat than other types of meats it can also cause reflux in people with GERD.   

Spicy foods are well-known instigators of heartburn and acid reflux.  But in people with IBD, spicy foods can also trigger or worsen a flare.  If you're planning to eat out, look out for popular food additives such as pepper flakes, hot sauce, salsa or sriracha. 

The good news is that, although certain foods can be problematic for those who struggle with digestive issues, there are many other dishes to choose from. Further, digestive diseases affect each person differently so not everyone is triggered by the same foods.  It's important to keep a record (such as a daily food journal) of the things that make your condition worse and seek individualized treatment with a trained specialist.  A combination of lifestyle changes and/or medication can be very effective in managing the symptoms. 

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