Sometimes, certain foods can irritate the stomach, making you feel abdominal pain and diarrhea. In some cases, these symptoms can be severe and chronic, pointing to a condition like Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a life-long inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the digestive tract. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but an abnormal immune response plays a role in its development.
This condition is incurable but manageable. Let’s take a look at the different treatments for Crohn’s disease.
Medications for Crohn’s Disease
These include prednisone, hydrocortisone, and budesonide and are used to reduce inflammation in patients with moderate to severe symptoms. However, doctors only prescribe this for short-term use, about three to four months, and it may not work for everyone.
Like corticosteroids, oral 5-aminosalicylates also reduce inflammation. Examples include sulfasalazine and mesalamine. Doctors prescribe these for newly diagnosed patients with mild symptoms.
Immunosuppressants target your immune system, which is responsible for producing the substances that cause inflammation. These can take several weeks to start working.
Your doctor may prescribe a combination of these drugs for better results. Some examples are:
- Azathioprine and mercaptopurine. These two are commonly used immunosuppressants for treating Crohn’s disease. Taking these requires regular follow-ups with your doctor to check your blood and liver health. Side effects may include nausea and vomiting.
- If other drugs do not help relieve inflammation, your doctor may prescribe methotrexate. Side effects may include swollen gums, drowsiness, decreased appetite, and hair loss.
- While this is commonly used as a medication for psoriasis, it is also useful in treating Crohn’s disease for some patients.
Antibiotics help reduce harmful bacteria that aggravate the immune system, causing inflammation. These also prevent or treat complications caused by Crohn’s disease, such as fistulas and abscesses. Examples of antibiotics include ciprofloxacin and metronidazole.
Your provider may prescribe over-the-counter medications or dietary supplements as treatment for Crohn’s disease. Always consult with your doctor before taking over-the-counter drugs. Examples include:
- Anti-diarrheals (loperamide)
- Pain relievers (acetaminophen)
- Iron supplements
- Vitamins B-12 and D
One of the risks associated with Crohn’s disease is an intestinal blockage due to narrowed bowels. To reduce the risk of this complication, your doctor may recommend you undergo nutrition therapy. You may be asked to adopt a low-fiber or low-residue diet to reduce the size of your stools. In severe cases, you may receive a special diet through a feeding tube or by injecting the nutrients into your vein. This may be combined with medications like immunosuppressors. These methods allow your bowel to rest, which reduces inflammation.
If dietary changes and medications do not help relieve your symptoms, you may need to have surgery. This is primarily done to remove the damaged part of your digestive tract and reconnect the healthy parts. Surgery is also performed to close fistulas and drain abscesses. You will still need medication to reduce the risk of recurrence.
Treatments for Crohn’s Disease in Pennsylvania
Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease that leads to a lot of complications like bowel obstructions, ulcers, and colon cancer. So, if you have recurring abdominal pain, blood in your stool, or chronic diarrhea, seek medical help.
The board-certified gastroenterologists at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates are committed to giving you the comprehensive and high-quality care you need. Our doctors are equipped with advanced knowledge in diagnosing and treating gastrointestinal problems, including Crohn’s disease. We also treat and diagnose liver problems.
You may reach our clinic at (717) 245-2228. Alternatively, you can secure an appointment with us through our online form. Let us help you keep your gut healthy!