Crohn’s disease causes severe inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It most often affects the small intestine, but can strike any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus. In addition to the pain caused by intestinal inflammation, Crohn’s disease can cause diarrhea, stomach ulcers, malnutrition and other complications such as anemia.
Unfortunately, a cure for Crohn’s is not currently available, but steps can be taken to treat and control the disease. The sooner treatment begins in the course of the disease, the easier it is to control symptoms and complications.
Crohn’s disease treatments typically include various combinations of surgery, anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressants, antibiotics, anti-TNF drugs (TNF is short for tumor necrosis factor), anti-diarrhea medications and other symptom-suppressing drugs. Crohn’s disease treatment varies widely, as does the location and severity of the disease. Response to Crohn’s disease treatments varies significantly among those with Crohn’s.
Work with your doctor on establishing the combination of medication and lifestyle changes that will best control your symptoms. Be aware that regardless of the combination of treatments chosen for Crohn’s disease and how well it keeps symptoms under control, flare-ups are inevitable. In some cases flare-ups are severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Seek treatment for your Crohn’s symptoms early, to help bring them under control, and minimize the likelihood that flare-ups will be severe.