Treatments of Crohn’s Disease are primarily limited to medication and surgery. There are several anti-inflammatory medications that have proven to be beneficial, as well as various forms of surgery depending on the location of the affected area of bowel. Although none of these actually cure Crohn’s Disease, they are helpful is controlling the symptoms.
There are five basic categories of medication to treat Crohn’s: aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators, antibiotics, and biologic therapies. Aminosalicylates are used to treat various inflammatory bowel diseases. While used less often with Crohn’s, it has proven to be effective in mild to moderate cases. Corticosteroids work to control inflammation and have been the primary medication treatment since the drug was introduced. Newer version of this type of steroid has proven even more effective in treating Crohn’s. Immunomodulators are used to suppress the body’s immunity mechanisms, which is useful in treating Crohn’s as it is believed the disease may be brought on by the body’s attempt to rid the intestine of bacteria. Antibiotics, on the other hand, are used to rid the body of bacteria and actually repress the intestinal immune system. Biological therapies have recently become a major player in treating Crohn’s. These are created by various living organisms and, in the case of Crohn’s treatment, include the use of an antibody which works to suppress the body’s release of a particular chemical that increases inflammation.
Crohn’s Disease is also treated by surgery. At some point, the majority of people with this disease will have to have a portion of their intestines removed should it become blocked with scar tissue, develop an abscess, or if a fistula requires repair. In the case of a resection, a portion of the bowel is removed, and the two remaining ends are rejoined. However, in more severe cases an ileostomy or colostomy are required, in which fecal matter is redirected, after the removal of a portion of bowel, to a hole in the abdomen to leave the body. The two latter types of surgery are particularly difficult for the patient, as they will then have to wear a bag in which stool is collected. However, there have been major advancements to make this less difficult for the patient.
A less effective treatment option for Crohn’s disease is to control the intake of certain foods. While it is clear Crohn’s Disease is not caused by any particular food, some people notice an increase in certain symptoms with particular foods and a decrease with others. This will vary by individual, but is an option for sufferers of Crohn’s.