Can Diet and Stress Cause Crohn's Disease?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

Is there any dietary suggestions to help with the management of Crohn's disease? Can stress cause the condition to become worse?

Doctor's Response

Patients with Crohn's disease should eat a normal well-balanced diet while avoiding any specific foods that may disagree with them. Those foods most commonly that cause problems are lactose (milk) containing foods in individuals who are lactose intolerant. Other foods that can cause problems are the gas-producing vegetables such as beans, peas and other legumes. (These foods may make the symptoms worse, but they do not aggravate the underlying inflammation.)

Stress is not a cause of Crohn's disease, but any stressful situation whether emotional or physical, may be associated with a flare of the disease either by chance or by a mechanism that is presently unclear.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018