Crohn’s Disease Treatments

Crohn's Disease, Digestive Health, Featured Article
on September 13, 2011
Woman with stomach pain lying down

Though the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still unknown, there have been significant advances in treating this inflammatory bowel disease. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, “Because there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, the goal of medical treatment is to suppress the inflammatory response.” In many cases, this response can be successfully suppressed even to the point of being asymptomatic most of the time. During flare-ups, various treatments can help manage symptoms and allow you to continue your normal daily lifestyle.

Traditional treatments. Pharmaceutical treatments for Crohn’s disease are numerous and varied, and the treatment that’s right for you will depend upon a number of factors. Each treatment will act on your body a little bit differently, and some people respond to certain types of treatments better than others. In addition, many of these treatments will interact with some other drugs, so the choice may hinge on whether you’re taking other medications. Prices also vary widely, which may be a huge consideration if you don’t have health insurance. These treatments typically include corticosteroids, TNF inhibitors, certain antibiotics and biologics. Various prescription and over-the-counter treatments, such as anti-diarrheal products, are also available for symptom management.

Lifestyle changes. While no known lifestyle changes can cure Crohn’s disease or completely treat the disease on its own, a number of changes may help reduce symptoms or even extend the time in-between relapses. The most common is to eat a well-rounded diet that’s high in fiber, take dietary supplements, drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of doctor-approved exercise. Cut down or cut out potentially irritating substances such as nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. Try to eat a diet low in sodium and with only a healthy amount of fat. Grease is known to aggravate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. If you’re not sure what kinds of foods may make the symptoms worse, consult with your doctor and eliminate common allergens from your diet one at a time, noting any change in your symptoms.