The goals and intentions of treatment for Crohn's disease are to ease the cramping, pain, rectal bleeding, and diarrhea that are that are so prevalent in patients with the condition. Drugs, diet, supplements, surgery, or some combination of these things are used to attempt to control the symptoms. Unfortunately, there is no known cure. And they way it is treated depends entirely on what part of the digestive tract it is in, any complications you might have had, and how severe the disease is.
Treatment for Crohn's disease may include the following:
Steroids (cortisone) - Prednisone, the most common drug of this type, has been known to be very effective in some cases. However, it comes with some serious side effects of its own, such as water retention, mood swings, and lowering your ability to fight off other infections.
Remicade (also known as Infliximab) - This drug is used only for severe cases which have resisted other treatments. It is called an anti-TNF substance, but needs much more research to be done to test its usefulness and possible side effects.
Drug Therapy - This treatment for Crohn's disease is an anti-inflammatory that uses mesalamine. The most frequently used form of this drug is Sulfasalazine. If it doesn't help the patient, they may then try Pentasa, Asacol, or Dipentum. Headaches, heartburn, nausea and vomiting may occur as a side effect.
Immune System Suppressors. Crohn's pain may also be treated with drugs whose purpose is to suppress your immune system. Like prednisone they lower your resistance to infection, in fact, they are often used together in an attempt to fight the inflammation.
Antibiotics - These are used to kill the bacteria that grown in the small intestine as the result of surgery or fistulas. Most commonly prescribed are tetracycline, ampicillin, cephalosporin, metronidazole, and sulfonamide.
Additional treatment for Crohn's disease might come as fluid replacements or anti-diarrheal meds. If dehydration is present in the patient, fluids and electrolytes will be pushed. Your doctor might recommend codeine, diphenoxylate, or loperamide.
At some point in time, when no medication is working to ease Crohn's pain, surgery may be recommended. Unfortunately, as many as three fourths of all patients will need surgery at some point. Usually, it is performed to resolve complications, such as perforation, blockage, intestinal bleeding, or abscesses. Removing a portion of the intestine sometimes helps, but is by no means a cure.
In extreme cases, treatment for Crohn's disease may require the removal of the entire colon, in an operation called a colostomy.