Crohn's Disease - Other Treatment
Other treatments for Crohn's disease include balloon dilation, supplemental nutrition, and complementary therapies.
Balloon dilation isn't surgery. It may be done if you want to delay surgery, or if you have had surgery before and your doctor wants to save as much of the intestine as possible.
During the procedure, the doctor moves an
endoscope through your intestine from your anus. The
endoscope is a long, thin tube that has a video camera on the end. An uninflated balloon is placed across the narrowed part of the intestine. When the balloon is inflated, it makes
that part of the intestine wider.
The balloon is deflated and then removed.
Not as much is known about the
long-term success of balloon dilation compared to surgery.
Some people who have
Crohn's disease need additional nutrition because
severe disease prevents their small intestine from absorbing nutrients.
Supplemental liquid feedings may be done through a tube placed in the nose and
down into the stomach (enteral nutrition) or through a vein (total parenteral
nutrition, or TPN). Enteral nutrition or TPN may be needed when:
- Crohn's disease isn't controlled with standard
- Short bowel syndrome occurs. This
happens when so much of the small intestine has been surgically removed or is
affected by the disease that you can't properly digest food and absorb enough
- Bowel blockage occurs.
Supplemental feeding can restore good nutrition to children
who are growing more slowly than normal. It also can build strength if you need
surgery or have been weakened because of severe diarrhea and poor
Supplemental nutrition allows the intestines to
rest and heal. But it's common for symptoms to return when TPN is stopped and you
go back to a regular diet. TPN doesn't change the long-term outcome of Crohn's
Many people with inflammatory bowel disease consider nontraditional or complementary medicine in addition to prescription medicines. They may turn to these alternatives because there is no cure for Crohn's disease. People may also use complementary medicine for help with:
- The difficult side effects from standard medicines.
- The emotional strain of dealing with a chronic illness.
- The negative impact of severe disease on daily life.
These therapies have not been proved effective for Crohn's disease, but they may improve your well-being. Therapies include:
- Special diets or nutritional supplements, such as probiotics, evening primrose, and fish oils.
- Vitamin supplements, such as vitamins D and B12.
- Herbs, such as ginseng.
- Stimulation of the feet, hands, and ears to try to affect parts of the body (reflexology).