Is fasting beneficial for hospitalized patients with inflammatory bowel diseases?

Yong Eun Park, Yehyun Park, Soo Jung Park, Tae Il Kim, Won Ho Kim, Jung Nam Kim, Na Rae Lee, Jae Hee Cheon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are usually hospitalized because of aggravated gastrointestinal symptoms. Many clinicians empirically advise these patients to fast once they are admitted. However, there has been no evidence that maintaining a complete bowel rest improves the disease course. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the effects of fasting on disease course in admitted patients with IBD or intestinal Behçet's disease. Methods: A total of 222 patients with IBD or intestinal Behçet's disease, who were admitted for disease-related symptoms, were retrospectively analyzed. We divided them into 2 groups: fasting group (allowed to take sips of water but no food at the time of admission) and dietary group (received liquid, soft, or general diet). Results: On admission, 124 patients (55.9%) started fasting and 98 patients (44.1%) started diet immediately. Among patients hospitalized through the emergency room, a significantly higher proportion underwent fasting (63.7% vs. 21.4%, P<0.001); however, 96.0% of the patients experienced dietary changes. Corticosteroid use (P<0.001; hazard ratio, 2.445; 95% confidence interval, 1.506-3.969) was significantly associated with a reduction in the disease activity score, although there was no significant difference between the fasting group and the dietary group in disease activity reduction (P=0.111) on multivariate analysis. Conclusions: In terms of disease activity reduction, there was no significant difference between the fasting and dietary groups in admitted patients with IBD, suggesting that imprudent fasting is not helpful in improving the disease course. Therefore, peroral diet should not be avoided unless not tolerated by the patient.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalIntestinal Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020. Korean Association for the Study of Intestinal Diseases.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gastroenterology


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