Treatments Available for Crohn’s Disease
At this time, there is still no cure for Crohn’s disease. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that health care providers can treat this chronic condition. Please remember that Crohn’s disease is a complex illness, which means that there isn’t a single set course of treatment that will work for every case. If you have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, then you may be interested in learning more about our Crohn’s disease clinical trials located in DeLand, FL.
When applied effectively, the modern treatments for Crohn’s can help to reduce some of the inflammation that can cause further complications. Obviously, the primary goal of treatment is to help provide some measure of relief from the symptoms of this inflammatory disease. However, there have been cases where the course of treatment applied produced long-term symptom remission.
Common Treatments for Crohn’s Disease
With most drugs that are prescribed for Crohn’s disease, doctors are looking to control the patient’s inflammation. On the other hand, these treatments can be very beneficial in relieving various symptoms of this disease. Depending on the severity of the patient’s case, a doctor may suggest one or more of the following:
- Laxatives: The swelling caused by Crohn’s disease can sometimes lead to more narrow intestines, and thus the patient can become constipated. Laxatives have been used by many Crohn’s patients in these cases in order to obtain some relief. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any laxatives, because there is a chance that these could prove too much for your system.
- Anti- diarrheals: Fiber supplements like methylcellulose (Citrucel) or psyllium powder (Metamucil) are often used to relieve cases of mild to moderate diarrhea. The fiber adds some more bulk to the patient’s stool, and their symptoms are thus measurably relieved. In cases that are more severe, patients may need to take loperamide (Imodium) instead. Again, patients should consult their doctor before using anti-diarrheals.
- Pain Relievers: Things like acetaminophen are often recommended for Crohn’s patients that are dealing with mild pain from their symptoms. Additionally, you’ll want to stay away from using ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen, since these could actually make the symptoms of Crohn’s disease even worse.
Nutrition Therapy for Crohn’s Disease
In some cases, doctors may recommend a specific diet for their patients living with Crohn’s disease. This particular diet can be “administered” via a feeding tube (known as enteral nutrition) or the nutrients could be injected directly into the vein (this is known as parenteral nutrition). As uncomfortable as this may sound, this type of treatment can help give the bowel a break and improve your overall nutrition levels.
The short-term benefits include reduced inflammation, but it can return shortly after normal feeding has been re-initiated. These methods of nutritional therapy are often used in order to get patients healthier before they undergo surgery or where other medications have not been successful. Doctors could also recommend an overall lower-fiber diet for patients with a significant risk of suffering some blockage due to their condition.
More Vitamins and Supplements for Crohn’s Disease
Here are some other vitamins and supplements that can be used to improve one’s condition and help relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s disease:
- Vitamin B-12: Vitamin B-12 is essential for proper nerve function, helps to promote better growth and development, and it can help prevent anemia. Some patients with Crohn’s disease will be given shots of vitamin B-12 for their condition. Once injected, this vitamin is absorbed via the terminal ileum, which is the section of the small intestine that is most often affected by Crohn’s disease. Excessive inflammation in the terminal ileum could interfere with the absorption of this vitamin, in which case patients may need to receive monthly shots for the rest of their lives. Anyone who has had their terminal ileum removed will also need regular B-12 injections.
- Iron Supplements: In some cases, chronic intestinal bleeding can lead to an iron deficiency anemia. These patients will most likely be given iron supplements to help bring their iron levels back to normal and relieve their anemia (the intestinal bleeding must first be stopped).
- Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements: On its own, Crohn’s disease will increase a person’s risk of developing osteoporosis. If these patients are also taking steroids for their condition, then their risk is even higher. In these cases, doctors may recommend additional vitamin D and calcium supplements to help fortify their patient’s bone strength.
Surgery for Crohn’s Disease
Surgery is usually reserved as a final measure if lifestyle changes, medication, and other treatments have been unsuccessful. During the procedure, surgeons will remove the afflicted portion of the digestive tract and reconnect the healthier sections. This surgery may also aim to drain abscesses and close any fistulas that may have formed. Surgeons may also be looking to perform a strictureplasty, where they will be widening a narrowed segment of the intestine.
Unfortunately, the benefits that are derived from these surgical procedures are not permanent. In most cases, the disease will inevitably rear its ugly head once again. Studies have shown that nearly three quarters of the people with Crohn’s disease will need require some form of surgery. Be sure to consult with your doctor about what the best course of treatment will be for your case. More often than not, it will involve some combination of the before-mentioned methods of treatment.