Crohn's Disease in Israel


Crohn’s disease in Israel can be challenging to manage, especially for students and tourists who do not have access to the full-service Israeli health care system.

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affect as many as 1.4 million Americans, most of who are diagnosed before age 30.   Crohn’s disease causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue in the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation. It is a life-long condition that can be treated but not cured.


Crohn's Disease Management in Israel

Ashkenazi Jews are at significantly higher risk for Crohn's disease, and research is being conducted to understand what causes the illness and how it is connected to Ashkenazi genes.  Crohn's disease in Israel has become a priority for local researchers, as it affects a relatively large percentage of the population (compared to other countries).

Crohn’s disease's main symptoms are fatigue, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps, pain when passing stool, fever, weight loss, diarrhea, possibly eye inflammation, joint pain and swelling, swollen gums, and skin ulcers.

We know that environmental factors can make the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease worse. The factors include:

    • Diet
    • Smoking
    • Stress
    • Pollution (recently identified as a contributing factor)

Treating Crohn’s should be organized with an interdisciplinary team that should include physician specialists, nurses, dietitians, and perhaps even psychologists.  Reducing stress, eliminating smoking, and diet modifications can reduce flare-ups.

EMA Care recommends all patients with Crohn’s disease see a dietitian understand what foods to avoid to prevent or control the illness's flare-ups.  With this condition, many people cannot absorb certain nutrients, and physicians often recommend high-calorie, high-protein diets and nutritional supplements.

Avoiding “trigger foods,” including alcohol, raw vegetables and fruits, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, oily foods, and whole grains, can alleviate symptoms and even prevent flare-ups.

A bland, low fiber diet is easier to absorb. You should avoid fatty, fried foods and unfortunately many kinds of fruits and vegetables.   So a nutritionist really needs to guide people with Crohn’s Disease so they can get adequate nutrients.

When managing Crohn’s Disease in Israel, stay away from falafel, shwarma, fried schnitzel, and chips (French fries).  Sad to say, but during Chanukah, EMA Care recommends NOT eat sufganiyot or traditional fried doughnuts.  These Israeli treats are deep-fried and can result in severe pain and discomfort in Crohn’s patients.

Common medications for Crohn’s disease are anti-inflammatory drugs,  including steroids.  When the first line of treatment does not help, doctors may prescribe biological medications   These are expensive, a biological drug which targets the immune system to suppress the cause of the inflammation.  Appropriate medical treatment for Crohn’s Disease can help to alleviate symptoms and putting the illness into remission.  Many of these medications must be injected or infused.  

Although excellent care for Crohn's disease in Israel is available, there are few all-inclusive infusion centers in Israel, unlike many other countries.  There are many steps to getting treatment, which can be challenging to navigate alone.  We call this "self-service medicine."  Although Israelis are used to this medical culture, non-natives struggle with the system when managing chronic illness.

Crohn’s Disease can go into remission with proper treatment, but stress may cause the inflammation to re-appear.  Traveling, coming to Israel for a gap year, moving to Israel, beginning a new job, getting married, and starting school is stressful situations.  It’s important to eat properly and self-monitor, especially when experiencing life’s transitions.

EMA Care has developed a thorough, comprehensive treatment plan for tourists, students, and Israel residents with Crohn’s Disease.  Through EMA Care case management, English-speaking gastroenterologists who specialize in IBD can be seen by patients with the illness.   There are several options available for foreign (student/ tourist) patients who need infusions.  EMA Care can help arrange delivery of these expensive medications via US/foreign insurance companies.

Don’t let Crohn’s Disease or IBD prevent you from visiting Israel.  EMA Care is here to assure you by lowering your stress while managing your health care in Israel.


EMA Care provides medical concierge, case management, and health advocacy services to tourists, students, and residents in Israel. You can reach us at  Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation to see how EMA Care can help you during your stay in Israel.

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