Crohn's Disease - Treatment Overview
The main treatment for
Crohn's disease is medicine to stop the inflammation
in the intestine and medicine to prevent flare-ups and keep you in
remission. A few people have severe, long-lasting
symptoms or complications that may require a stronger medicine, a combination
of medicines, or surgery. The type of treatment you need depends on the type of symptoms you have and how bad they are.
Mild symptoms may respond to an
antidiarrheal medicine such as loperamide (Imodium, for example). This medicine slows or stops the painful spasms in your intestines
that cause symptoms.
For mild to moderate symptoms, your doctor will probably have you take aminosalicylates, antibiotics, and other medicines to control inflammation.
Severe symptoms may be treated
with corticosteroids, immunomodulator medicines, or biologics.
With severe symptoms, the first step is to control the disease. When your
symptoms are gone, your doctor will plan your treatment to keep you symptom-free (in remission).
After symptoms are controlled, your treatment will focus on medicine or a combination of medicines that keeps
Crohn's disease in remission.
Your doctor will want to see you about every 6 months if your
condition is stable. You'll be seen more often if you have flare-ups. You may have
lab tests every 2 to 3 months.
Some severe cases of Crohn's disease need to be treated in the hospital. In the hospital, you may get
supplemental nutrition through a tube placed in your
nose and down into the stomach (enteral nutrition). Or your bowel
may need to rest, and you will be fed liquid nutrients in a vein (total
parenteral nutrition, TPN). See Other Treatment.
Surgery may be needed if no
medicine is effective or if you have complications. See Surgery.