There is no known cure for Crohn's disease so treatment focuses on treating the Crohn's related inflammation. This helps patients manage the symptoms and complications of the disease. When inflammation and symptoms are not affecting a patient's daily life, this is called remission. Patients in remission can have normal growth and a very good quality of life.
One method for treating inflammation is medication. There are a variety of prescriptions available because each individual has different needs and reactions to medication. Physicians will choose medication based on the following:
It is possible that you will have to try a few different medications before finding one that works for you. Both the reduction of symptoms and the presence of side effects will be taken into account when determining if a prescription is beneficial for a patient.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medication may be used to manage symptoms such as diarrhea and pain, but patients are advised to consult their physician before using OTC treatments.
Diet is another tool used to manage Crohn's disease. In some cases, a physician may want to provide the bowels some time to rest, or not digest solid food. Under this condition, a patient may spend a short period of time "eating" through a feeding tube or via a substance injected directly to the veins.
Diet suggestions and guidelines will vary among patients. Your physician may recommend keeping a food diary during Crohn's flare-ups to help track what foods/habits tend to aggravate and minimize symptoms.
Up to one half of individuals diagnosed with Crohn's will receive some sort of surgery. Surgery will provide a temporary benefit to the individual by removing or repairing a damaged portion of the digestive tract.
Crohn's disease can lead to some major lifestyle changes, so it is important to have support systems in place. Support can manifest in a number of ways.
Family, friends, therapists/counselors, or a group of individuals who suffer from IBD – being able to express feelings will help ease the emotional effects of living with Crohn's
There are systems in place to help Crohn's sufferers go about their daily life during a flare-up. One example is the
Restroom Request Card, which allows you to discreetly request access to restricted bathrooms when symptoms are about to cause an embarrassing situation.
Knowledge is power. Empower yourself and your family by researching the condition, tips for managing symptoms and more. Start with your physician and branch out to libraries and credible websites.