Crohn’s disease is a type of irritable bowel disease (IBD), and the inflammation causes abdominal pain, fatigue, heavy diarrhea, malnutrition, and weight loss. The inflammation can affect any of the parts of the digestive system, and the scope and area of the inflammation vary from person to person.
Crohn’s is currently incurable and can be painful and interfere with everyday life, and in some cases, it can even be life-threatening.Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatments for Crohn’s disease that can ease symptoms, and some can lead to remission.
Immune system suppressors reduce inflammation and target your immune system. Some people have better results with being on two or more different immunosuppressant medications instead of one.
Azathioprine is the most commonly prescribed immunosuppressant for Crohn’s disease. However, your doctor must monitor you closely, and your blood will need to be tested periodically to make sure your immune system is still capable of fighting off infection and checking for liver inflammation. Other side effects include nausea and vomiting.
Methotrexate can be used if you have not had success with other medications. Your doctor must monitor you closely for side effects.
Biologics are specialized to work on the proteins your immune system makes. Natalizumab and vedolizumab stop immune cell molecules called integrins from attaching to other cells in the lining of your intestines. TNF inhibitors (Infliximab, adalimumab, and certolizumab pegol) impair the immune system protein tumor necrosis factor. Ustekinumab inhibits interleukins, which are proteins that contribute to inflammation.
Medications for diarrhea, malnutrition, and pain
To treat diarrhea, your doctor may recommend fiber supplements that will make your stool more solid. Crohn’s disease can lead to malnutrition because it can keep your body from absorbing the full amount of nutrients in your food, but vitamins and supplements can replenish what your body loses.
If all else fails to effectively treat your case of Crohn’s disease, surgery may be a good option. About half of people living with this condition will need at least one surgery done.
Surgery for Crohn’s disease involves the removal of an affected portion of your digestive tract and reconnecting the portions that are working properly. The surgeon might also decide to treat fistulas and abscesses.
Crohn’s disease surgery usually is not a permanent solution, so it is advised that you take medication for Crohn’s disease after your surgery.