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Crohn's Disease Forum » Diet, Fitness, and Supplements » Anyone Try Fasting to Heal Crohn's?


 
08-15-2007, 01:15 AM   #1
manatee
 
Anyone Try Fasting to Heal Crohn's?

Hello out there... I've been thinking about experimenting a bit by fasting once or twice a week for awhile to see if that eventually helps my Crohn's.

I think I've heard stories where some people sometimes have to go to the hospital to be fed by IV to give their guts time to heal and wondered if anyone out there has had luck with fasting?

Seems like it could help... or at the least, perhaps a liquid diet once a week?

Any thoughts?
08-15-2007, 09:17 AM   #2
Kev
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Hey manatee.. I sort of fasted.. Period when it hurt so much to eat (well, to swallow to be exact) that I literally didn't eat anything... except for glasses of water to take my meds with.. that lasted for a period of weeks. I lost a lot of weight, and I lost significant ground. Anyway, by the time I got to see a GI, she was very worried about my condition... so she put me on a liquid diet. Unfortunately, they contained a lot of lactose, which I'm sensitive to. anyway, I came off of the anti-biotic I was on at the time, my cycsts decreased, and I was able to resume eating normal food. It still hurt to eat, but it was tolerable. That is when I started to regain ground... My self imposed fast may have contributed to a healing process inside, or it may have been stopping the a/b's, or it could have been just an upturn in the flare I was in at the time... I dunno, and neither do any of the docs I've seen. I wouldn't advise my methods to anyone... myself included.
It was simply that I couldn't force myself to eat at the time. I would imagine that a fast, to do any good... to rest the intestine (ileum, colon, whatever) would require a period of time... not just a day or two. I would assume (and you know what they say about 'assume'?) that a liquid diet, w/o any hard to digest 'solid' foods, could be done safely, and for a period of time that would benefit the system, if done under the supervision of a doctor or nutritionist. I don't think it should be attempted w/o medical advice. A fast of a day or two, well, it might help, but the benefits to the body of so short a rest? I dunno if that would really help at all. It seems to me that any 'possible' benefits of such a short fast would be superficial at best... I have, on occasion, switched to a liquid only diet for a day, whenever my digestive system becomes sluggish. Sort of 'nothing out, then nothing in' rule of thumb. Anyway, I'm rambling.. I'd suggest you talk it over with your doctors.
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08-15-2007, 08:41 PM   #3
manatee
 
Thanks for your reply Kev... I guess I'm pretty much screwed until I can get insurance. All I have now is a high deductible which means if I go to the doctor I'll pretty much be bankrupt. Sigh... maybe I should go rob a pharmacy so I can get some prednisone... lol
08-15-2007, 09:37 PM   #4
Stuffette
 
I try fasting when I feel I could get sick or I feel I went off "my" diet. I can't make it through a full day fast but I try to skip two meals and just drink broth or a lot of tea. I am a little overweight so I can afford a weekly fast. I am not sure what your needs are.

I try to follow the Maker's Diet and Rubin suggests a weekly fast. I don't fast regularly but I do when I think I need it. It always helps me.
08-16-2007, 02:44 AM   #5
soupdragon69
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Hi Manatee,

One of the signs of having Crohn's can be weight loss due to not eating as you cannot cope with it...

Fasting without some form of nutritional support only damages your body in the long run. If you dont give your body the building blocks of nutrition how do you expect it to heal and repair itself??

Further down on this part of the site you will see threads about elemental diet. This is a liquid diet that is designed to be absorbed in the first metre of the small bowel so you get the nutrition on board AND the rest of your gut gets a rest and a chance to heal too. Generally most adults are on elemental for 2-3 wks when commenced on it by their GI and unders supervision of a gastro dietitian. Some places like Japan for instance put ALL their patients on it as a background supplementation.

I understand things are difficult on the insurance front and its ok for me here in the UK to say these things when you have finances to take into account....

All I am trying to say is please be careful you dont end up sicker by decreasing your nutritional status further as so many of us are deficient already. A couple of days a week fasting wont do much to heal your gut would be my thought and would also compound your exhaustion etc too resulting in you feeling even worse.

Hope you get to see a GI soon and get some relief soon too.

Thinking of you.
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08-16-2007, 06:02 AM   #6
Mazen
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In my religion we are required to fast for a month for the whole day till sunset. When I got diagnosed with Crohn's 7 years ago, I stopped fasting as I was losing weight and was very weak if I didn't eat. But a few years ago when I was in remission, I tried fasting again , and after a week, my symptoms all returned and I was having lots of pain.

So from my experience, and through I read, it's not recommended for somebody with Crohn's to fast. But maybe you can try and elemental or liquid diet. I never tried it, but I know it needs professional supervision

I hope this helps.
08-16-2007, 06:21 PM   #7
vickyoddsocks
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Yeah i can vouch (sp?) for the elemental diet! Im on it as we speak! ALWAYS works for me, you kinda get the best of both worlds, the rest for your gut, yet all your nutritinal needs. It works wonders for my fistulas too! Infact im at my MOST healthy (Feeling wise, and medically) when im on the elemental. I think because its got all the right ammounts of Vits and Mins, your actually getting the IDEAL diet possible. I get bags of energy, (usually i would have to nap throughtout the day because i was so tired, but now i never even feel that tired) It REALLY is worth a go, after the 1st 2 weeks thats when i really start to notice the improvements. It is hard as hell (in terms of not being able to eat) but surely its worth it to feel better?
I saw a new Gastro doctor when i was in hospital recently, and he didnt seem as enthusiastic about it, he said from his experience most people have a flare as soon as they reintroduce, and that is a problem iv had in the past. So this time we're gonna be MUCH more careful about reintroducing.
As for fasting.... I was having a bad flare once and was hospitalised, they made me fast and put me on IV fluids and within 24 hours i felt miles better,and the flare just seemed to dissapear! But i think that was more luck then anything, coz ive tried it since and it doesnt really work! lol!
Hope you find something that works for you!
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08-16-2007, 07:01 PM   #8
Sojourn
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Whenever I've fasted, it's usually been just to reduce the amount of diarrhea because of a job or something where I couldn't be going to the bathroom all the time. But I can't say that helped the Crohn's condition overall. In fact, a lot of the time, not eating would actually make the pain worse.

Just going to your doctor to get some prescription meds shouldn't cost too much, not like the ER or hospital. And Prednisone is very cheap. It might be worth it to go ahead and see the GI and see about getting some Pred. He may want to put you on other meds also, but tell him your situation, and that you just want to start off on Pred right now.

Last edited by Sojourn; 08-16-2007 at 07:05 PM.
08-18-2007, 08:46 PM   #9
Ilysha
 
I will do a liquid diet for a day or two after I've eaten foods I shouldn't -- chicken broth and or a smoothie. That usually helps, but I've never done a long term fast.
08-19-2007, 01:49 PM   #10
Cara Fusinato
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They have me on a medically supervised liquid diet (HMR is the brand name) because I need to lose weight (I know, I'm one of the few with Crohn's who needs to lose weight) and it really makes my Crohn's areas feel better. I think it does indeed give the gut a chance to rest. However, this is a medically supervised program with additional dietary supplements -- it's not really something to mess around with on your own.
08-22-2007, 05:32 PM   #11
Kev
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Very good point Cara! By most definitions I've heard, fasting is abstaining from food. Water is allowed. A liquid diet is not per se a fast (by hard definition). Definitely it's not something that one should experiment with. switching to a liquid diet under the care/supervision of a doctor is one thing, cutting out all foods willy nilly is really a bad idea WHEN you are chronically/acutely/critically ill (excepting for those undertaken as part of one's religious beliefs - those are purely between you and your maker, etc..)
10-07-2007, 02:37 PM   #12
Jvstin
 
I fast all the time, due to pain and such. it works well for inflamation, but causes weight loss and what-not which is what none of us need. I suggest trying to go to a liquid diet for a few days first, if you still hurt, then do fasting.
I used to just go and get some pred, but for me now pred always seems to cause a rectal abscess.
regardless, I suggest talking to your doc first before changing your diet like this.
10-10-2007, 09:27 AM   #13
Cara Fusinato
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The liquid diet works well for me and seems to keep the whole mess settled down. However, I DO need to lose weight, which I am doing. They do have some protein powders and bodybuilders' meal replacements which should give you a liquid diet while adding weight.
10-10-2007, 11:11 PM   #14
Dekar
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I need to constantly eat, or I feel so bad.
10-11-2007, 12:31 AM   #15
DarrylP_Ajax
 
Dekar said:
I need to constantly eat, or I feel so bad.
Agreed, if i dont eat at least every 3 hours i start to feel like my stomach is eating itself...
10-11-2007, 08:58 AM   #16
Kev
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Are those effects of disease, or side effects of meds, possibly pred or other steriods?

DarrylP_Ajax said:
Agreed, if i dont eat at least every 3 hours i start to feel like my stomach is eating itself...
10-11-2007, 01:45 PM   #17
Dekar
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probably disease, or maybe the body wanting to heal? I'm medless
10-11-2007, 05:16 PM   #18
Kev
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My goof... I was posing that question to Darryl
10-12-2007, 09:06 PM   #19
DarrylP_Ajax
 
Kev said:
My goof... I was posing that question to Darryl
Well i spent the last year Pred free, so its not the Pred, and Imuran doesnt change my appetite, but mainly i think because i workout so much and my metabolism is through the roof my body just cant function without constant calorie intake...like if i dont eat within an hour of waking up in the morning i start to feel like i am going to puke
10-13-2007, 10:35 AM   #20
spipe
 
Well i have tried fasting and it doesn't really work you just get weaker and you have very little energy. I have figured out with me that it isnt really what you eat it is how healthy you are and how fast food goes through your system. My crohn's is different though i don't have soft stools.

Alot of people think it is what you eat that is true for the most part but it is also how healthy you are and how fast it goes through your system. I have tried every method of battling crohns and now I am 90% healthy due to 4 bottles of beer a week. How you ask can I do this well the beer speeds up my bowls so it set my whole system on high stuff goes through faster and it takes a couple of days where my system does not regulate. Dont get me wrong I would not try this if you are not healthy or at a stable level i should say.

I did post a year ago about ginseng was helping and it does I was very healthy when I would get sick and take meth it sped up my system but long term it is not good. I have messed around for 3 years to figure out what worked and what didnt to help cure my crohns and I have found the speed of your digestive system is the key for me.
10-17-2007, 02:45 AM   #21
Dekar
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I don't even work out. God knows what it is but everyone saying how they can't eat cus it hurts baffles me. I'm COMPLETELY the opposite. Not eating hurts.

Maybe a hint to 2 types of crohns?
10-17-2007, 08:49 AM   #22
Kev
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I think that the disease, being opportunistic by nature, manifests itself in various ways.. I mean, if two people were swarmed by bees, the location and severity of the stings could be vastly diffferent... even if the bees were from the very same hive. it's a terrible oversimplification of complex, multi faceted disease, but I like the analogy.
03-06-2010, 03:57 AM   #23
smilauer
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Hi,
I did fasting for 38 days (no food) and with the change in diet, I conquered Crohn's disease (now it's >7months and no symptoms, approved by doctors). The major problem with fasting is free will to do that. First day you feel miserable. Drinking a lot of herb teas helps to fool your stomach so you are not hungry. Up to ~fifths day, several inconveniences emerge (nausea, sleepiness, tiredness).
But after these ~5 days, your body switches to a self-digestive regime, which is quite natural and the body understand it needs to save energy, vitamins, minerals etc. This is in a high contrast with malnutrition where you miss several nutrients and your body expects food. Normally, you can fast 40 days in this self-digestive regime without irreversible damage.
During the self-digestion, the body attacks primarily damaged tissue - it does not need them. You stomach does not produce acid. Your intestines almost stop the peristaltic movement. Imunity rises up significantly etc. All these miraculous things happen. No pill exist to invoke this mechanism.
03-06-2010, 05:15 AM   #24
danman
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When I was diagnosed in the '80's, I was fasted for a week and half. I was on an IV and was told to drink as much orange juice as I could.

That was then and this is now.

I've heard quite a lot about the elemental diet and it sounds very good.
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03-06-2010, 08:20 AM   #25
smilauer
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There is a lot of reports showing that the elemental diet is perfect during the application. However, patients usually recover inflammation after a couple of weeks when they stop the diet. Many doctors explain it as an allergic reaction. "Primitive" food, prepared by simple technologies using natural resources and without allergens, seems to work also fine for me.
03-06-2010, 05:24 PM   #26
Guest
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just wanted to add a note here - anyone who is contemplating dietary regimes, particularly fasting, which they've read on this forum is strongly recommended to ask advice from their health carer before embarking on these practices.
05-28-2011, 10:06 AM   #27
ruthyp
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i had to fast for 7 days due to severe ulcers down my throat, no food at all, i lost nearly a stone in weight then after, because my stomach shrunk, i lost a further stone and a half, i would defo not recommend this
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06-06-2011, 09:39 PM   #28
mom2twogr8tkids
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I've been told by some people that fasting actually helps crohn's. As for me...well I don't see myself being able to do it. I stay hungry all the time!!!
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06-06-2011, 10:00 PM   #29
lookame
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When I was admitted to the hospital I was put on bland diet. Really that meants only clear liquids...no solids what so ever. i did notice that I didnt feel the need to releive as much, but I still went a lot(then again I had not treatment so that didnt help) It wasn't until I got some prednisone that my system really began to slow down, but it took awhile to finally reach a point which was suitable...then I weaned off prednisone and lialda didnt hold me so I was put on 6mp and that held me for awhile until I hit a period of stress that sent me into a wirlwind flare. Waiting for my next appointment to see where to go from here
06-06-2011, 10:25 PM   #30
outlier
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Agreed, if i dont eat at least every 3 hours i start to feel like my stomach is eating itself...
I eat every three hours due to heartburn. In fact i am sure my heartburn issues started because of "missing" two meals. if I wait longer I causes massive stomach aches.
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