Living with Crohn's disease

The most important advice for patients living with Crohn's disease who smoke is to stop smoking.


Research has shown that stopping smoking has proven impact on the progress of the disease, and in particular clearly reduces the risk of complications and the need for surgical intervention.

Dietary advice

Dietary advice is particularly important for patients affected by chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
During relapses it is probably advisable to cut down on the intake of dietary fibre and dairy products. Their negative effects in the event of a relapse are partly linked to their effects on the intestinal flora.
These dietary changes apply only when the patient is in a relapse. If the diet is followed for too long, it risks the development of nutritional deficiency—it is vital to have a varied, balanced diet at other times.
The intestinal lesions may lead to malabsorption of nutrients. Proteins, minerals and vitamins may be poorly absorbed, leading to deficiency. Dietary supplements may then be necessary.
There are no specific preventative measures for chronic inflammatory bowel disease, for which no cause has been precisely identified.


Contrary to popular belief, patients with Crohn's disease may enjoy successful pregnancies. However, it is advisable to avoid getting pregnant during a relapse. Pregnancy is not contra-indicated when the disease has been in prolonged remission, and the risk of congenital diseases is no greater than in the general population.

The only proven risk factors are slight prematurity and/or low birth weight. This risk is lower when the disease is in remission, and increases during a relapse. Close medical and obstetric supervision is therefore necessary for pregnant women with Crohn's disease.

Last updated: 17/06/2017

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