Perceptions and psychosocial impact of food, nutrition, eating and drinking in people with inflammatory bowel disease: a qualitative investigation of food‐related quality of life
Czuber-Dochan et al., JHND Early View.
Extensive research has provided an important understanding of the impact of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on nutrient intake, requirements and metabolism. By contrast, there has been limited research examining the psychosocial aspects of food, eating and drinking in IBD. The present study aimed to address this unmet need.
Qualitative semi‐structured interviews regarding the perceptions and psychosocial impact of food, eating and drinking were undertaken with 28 purposively selected people with IBD. Interviews were audio‐recorded and transcribed verbatim. Colaizzi’s framework was used to structure the data analysis.
Five major themes were identified. IBD symptoms and both surgical and medical treatments were described as having a direct impact on eating and drinking, with participants also using different food‐related strategies to control IBD symptoms. These included a process of experimentation7 to identify trigger foods, following a severely restricted and limited diet, eating small portions, and eating more frequently. However, their limited knowledge about if, and how, food affected their symptoms, often resulted in negative coping strategies that impacted on psychosocial functioning, including a lack of enjoyment of eating, being afraid to eat and finding social occasions stressful. Managing food and drinking also made food shopping and preparation more burdensome, creating problems with families, at work and for social life, as well as the need for careful preparation and advanced planning of activities.
Inflammatory bowel disease has a profound impact on psychosocial aspects of food and nutrition, which impacts on ‘food‐related quality of life’ (FRQoL). Further research is required to identify interventions that will improve FRQoL in patients with IBD.