The following article explains Crohn’s Disease Treatments and what options are available.

As mentioned in a previous article, there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease. But, there are various treatments that aid in a patient living a functional life, outside of times in relapse. The most common treatment for Crohn’s Disease is prescription therapy. However, in some cases surgery might be necessary. The one sure thing though is, it’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment plan.

Some doctors prefer one of two strategies, either “step up”, or “top down”.  Step up is when the strength of medicine is gradually increased, and top down is the opposite. Either way, the main goal of any treatment for Crohn’s is to reduce inflammation, which is the root of most complications associated with this disease.

Crohn’s disease treatments

Crohn’s Disease Treatments

So, let’s look at possible options that might be mentioned by your doctor…

Anti-inflammatory Medicine

To help reduce the inflammation, it’s highly likely your doctor will prescribe an anti-inflammatory. The first you might hear mentioned is Oral 5-aminosalicylates, such as sulfasalazine and mesalamine. especially if your colon is affected. However, they are not very helpful in treating the small intestine. The side effects can range from nausea to increased diarrhea, which is what most patients are battling in the first place. So, these drugs are not used as often as they once were.

Another option you will hear is corticosteroids, such as prednisone. These can be effective, but only used short-term, as the side effects are unpleasant, such as sweating, insomnia, puffy face, and hyperactivity. More serious side effects could be high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, and increased risk of infections. While corticosteroids don’t work for everyone, they are typically prescribed when not responding to other treatments, with the hope of inducing remission.

Once in remission, immune system suppressants are used for maintenance.

Immune System Suppressors

Similar to anti-inflammatories, immune system suppressants also help reduce inflammation. But, they do more. They zero in on the immune system, to help fight what is causing the inflammation. They are often used in combination with other drugs, such as the anti-inflammatories mentioned above. Immunosuppressant therapy might include the following:

This is a list of some of the more popular immune system suppressants prescribed by doctors to help fight off the active stages of Crohn’s Disease.

Antibiotics are also used in conjunction with other meds.

Antibiotics Used for Crohn’s Disease

A patient can often experience drainage, fistulas, and abscesses with perianal Crohn’s stages. At this point, antibiotics are then prescribed as treatment. They are also used to eradicate harmful bacteria found in the intestines, which causes the inflammation.

The most common antibiotics prescribed are Metronidazole, also known as Flagyl, and Ciprofloxacin, or Cipro. Along with the more common side effect of nausea, Metronidazole can also cause muscle pain, tingling in the feet and hands, or numbness.

Cipro, although quite rare, can also cause a ruptured tendon. The risk for that increases, when used with corticosteroids.

Non-prescription Options and Supplements

The inflammation in a relapse of Crohn’s Disease isn’t just uncomfortable. It can also lead to diarrhea, bleeding, fatigue, and more complications that can alter a person’s functionality. In order to help reduce the effect of these, there are options that won’t need a prescription. The following are the more common ones:

While many of the above do not require a prescription, it’s very important to report the use of them to your doctor, preferably getting their approval before starting. Some could further complicate certain cases.

Nutritional Therapy

As with any chronic illness, nutrition plays a significant role in fending off symptoms and relapses. But there might come a time when you need more than just a healthy diet. If the active stage of Crohn’s Disease is severe, the doctor might suggest a feeding tube, providing your body with the proper nutrients. Not only will this restore the proper nutrients to the body, but it can also provide a necessary rest to the bowel.

This might be recommended during a severe relapse, or prior to surgery.

Surgery

There might come a time when surgery is recommended if other treatments are not effective any longer. This occurs in about half of Crohn’s Disease patients.

A surgeon could eliminate part of the digestive tract, then connect the healthier parts together. Surgery might also be necessary to drain an abscess, or close a fistula.

However, surgery is not a cure. Unfortunately, none of the treatments above are, because one doesn’t exist. But, they can help bring back functionality to a person’s life.

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