Enteral Nutrition Therapy
What is enteral nutrition therapy?
Enteral nutrition therapy is a treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that involves taking nutrition and calories in a liquid form for a period of time. The standard form of enteral nutritional therapy is called exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN), in which all calories are taken as liquid formula.
Enteral nutrition therapy has few adverse side effects and is effective at reducing inflammation in the intestine and relieving symptoms associated with IBD. It also accounts for all the calories needed for a child to maintain good nutrition.
Enteral nutritional therapy is customized based on each patient’s needs and works well in tandem with medications, if they are needed.
What can I expect from enteral nutrition therapy?
Your treatment team at the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center will work closely with you and your family before, during, and after enteral nutrition therapy.
Treatment with enteral nutrition therapy depends on the type of inflammatory bowel disease you have and your family’s preferences. Generally, treatment takes between eight and twelve weeks. Many patients are able to get their disease under control and into remission (no symptoms) with this treatment.
Some children take the formula by mouth, although they often do not like the taste. We may recommend a nasogastric tube which delivers the formula directly to the stomach through a tube that is inserted into the nose and down the throat. The nasogastric tube is easy and safe to insert and can be used at night and removed during the day.
You may drink water throughout the treatment period.
Our medical care team schedules phone calls and follow-up appointments during the treatment period to monitor your progress and address any concerns.
How do I return to solid foods after enteral nutrition therapy?
Solid foods are introduced gradually to avoid a return of symptoms. You will work with a dietician to determine which foods are best to avoid. You may remain on a partial enteral nutrition therapy diet for up to six months.
What is the prognosis for patients who choose enteral nutrition therapy?
Enteral nutrition therapy is not a cure for IBD, but it can relieve symptoms, reduce the need for some medications, and ensure proper nutrition. Research has shown that EEN does induce remission in some children.