Just thought I'd share my progress and a few observations. Last January I was diagnosed with Crohn's and decided to try enteral nutrition (EN) as a way to remission. I have been recovering from a drug-induced liver injury due to oral contraceptives, so I want to avoid medications if possible.
Overall, I would recommend EN to anyone--either alone, or in combination with your current medications--to try and achieve remission or lessen symptoms. I saw a change within days, before I was even on it exclusively. You should be able to tell fairly quickly if it will help you or not. I doubt it is necessary to stay on as long as I did.
The past months have been hellish so it's hard to say how much of the cramping I feel is stress-related...after being hospitalized last May I developed "spastic colon," a.k.a. IBS. I never had typical Crohn's symptoms, mainly high fevers, abdominal pain, and my inflammatory markers were up. In December my CRP was 19 (normal <1) and ESR was 58 (normal <21). I have inflammation at the terminal ileum and it's narrowed. In January I was having crampy pain every day, worse after eating.
What I did...
I transitioned to EN by replacing one meal a day with Nutren 1.5, over a little more than a week. I stayed on EN exclusively for 8 weeks, and had a blood test done every four weeks.
I felt less cramping as soon as I switched to EN. After transitioning and being on EN exclusively for a few days, I had a blood test in February and my CRP was 0.7, ESR was 38. After the first few days I plateaued and did not feel near-normal until about five weeks later. Blood test in March at 4 weeks: CRP 0.6, ESR 21; blood test in April: CRP 0.5, ESR 20. I have not had another fever since December.
According to my doctor this could be remission. He's not sure if it's the diet or just spontaneous, but either way he's VERY suprised that I am surviving without Entocort and Imuran--he wanted me on both starting in January.
That's the good news!
The slightly bad news is that while I was on EN, two of my liver enzymes started to creep upwards (ALT and AST) and are slightly above normal. My ALP was high in the past due to the contraceptives and that has remained low. Can't be certain till I get off the diet, but I think that the high fat content of the Nutren is causing the ALT/AST elevation--maybe mild fatty liver. Hopefully that's all, nothing more serious. If so this is disappointing because I tried EN specifically to avoid more liver trouble.
Starting over a week ago I reduced the Nutren 1.5 to about two cans a day and am eating food again. I plan to stick with that at least through my next blood test in May. I picked up the book "The IBD Remission Diet" and am following the reintroduction plan given there. I also added supplements: a probiotic in the morning, omega-3 from fish and flax oil, vitamin E, folic acid, and a psyllium fiber before bed. So far the adjustment back to food is going OK.
My goal is to follow the SCD. I've used the last eight weeks on EN to collect cookbooks and test a few recipes on my husband. Spaghetti squash was a hit. I have read the Maker's Diet and am adopting that insofar as buying natural/organic foods. I also liked the book "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth" by Jonny Bowden--it tells you the merits of foods and which fruits/veggies to always buy organic. Right now I'm reading "The Inflammation-Free Diet Plan," sounded relevant to Crohn's.
Also trying resistance exercises to gain some (muscle) weight. I'm too thin now...so everyone tells me.
A few comments...
Living without food was not difficult as long as I felt bad. I became hungry on a schedule and ate four times daily. I still cooked for my husband every day and "ate out" at restaurants with friends. But as soon as my symptoms were mostly gone, it was a more of a struggle.
Monitor your weight closely on EN. While a nutritionist told me I would be OK with 1200 calories, I lost weight, so I ended up doing at least 1500 calories a day.
I had to travel often, so I got a note from my doctor saying I needed the Nutren 1.5 four times daily. I was able to bring a few cans through security several times after showing the note to TSA agents.
Nausea was a problem in the beginning. I found that diluting the formula with water and drinking it slowly helped.
If you are considering EN, don't use a formula with fiber. I tried this first after a nutritionist recommended it. Bad idea--it tastes awful, made me constipated at first, and caused more nausea.
There are a number of formulas available. If, like me, your normal diet is low in fat, try a formula that is also relatively low in fat. Once I finish the Nutren I plan on switching to something else.