Crohn's disease, an inflammatory bowel disease affecting 500,000 Americans, can overwhelm your daily life. Day-to-day living is especially difficult if you suffer chronic symptoms like frequent diarrhea, gastrointestinal bleeding, anal tears, or bowel obstructions.
Fortunately, treatments for Crohn's disease can make a big difference. Effective treatments range from lifestyle changes to medications, or even surgery in severe cases. The right treatments can reduce symptoms, lengthen remissions,...
Your doctor will help you decide which one is best for you.
Most people with Crohn's first take a "5-ASA" drug. That's short for 5-aminosalicylic acid. These drugs work on the inside of your intestines to reduce inflammation.
Your gut is made up of your small intestine and your large intestine. 5-ASA drugs work best if you have mild-to-moderate Crohn's disease in your large intestine (also called the colon) or in the very last part of your small intestine. One of these drugs, called sulfasalazine, only helps with disease in the colon.
Once your symptoms improve, you can take a 5-ASA drug to prevent flare-ups.
Sulfasalazine can also reduce sperm counts in men, and it may lower infection-fighting white blood cells. If you're allergic to sulfa drugs, you may have a reaction to sulfasalazine and shouldn't take it.
If the top part of your colon is affected, you'll probably take these medicines by mouth. If the lower part of your colon is involved, you can take them through your rectum as an enema or suppository.
These are one of the oldest treatments for Crohn's disease. If your case is moderate to severe or other drugs aren't helping, your doctor may recommend one.
The full name is corticosteroids, but most people shorten it to "steroids." They're not the same as the drugs you take to build your muscles.
Most of them will cut down inflammation all through the body, not just in your intestines. They work quickly during flare-ups, sometimes easing symptoms within days after you start taking them.