Crohn’s disease is one of the two conditions that comprise inflammatory bowel disease (the other being ulcerative colitis). Treatment for Crohn’s disease can be manageable but challenging. Recently, researchers have found new information that may make the road to Crohn’s management and remission more seamless. Read on to learn about this study, as well as viable treatment options for Crohn’s disease.

The Road to Treatment

Currently, there is no one first-line treatment that can help eradicate Crohn’s disease (CD) or force it into remission. Patients are often presented with myriad treatment options, and it may take some time until both patient and physician find the right combination of prevention and pharmacological methods that can help improve quality of life. After diagnosis, one of the most important things to do is to try to control the inflammation. This may be by experimenting with elimination diets, or by using medication such as antibiotics or corticosteroids. The next goals include achieving remission in the first place, followed by maintenance of remission, meaning that patients experience no further flare-ups. In addition to antibiotics and corticosteroids, other common medications used to treat CD include aminosalicylates, immunomodulators, and biologics. Doctors may also suggest the use of antidiarrheal medication or nutritional supplements, depending on the severity of the condition.

Different Types of Crohn’s Disease

Some patients encounter problems when trying medications because of the subtype of Crohn’s disease that they have. For instance, subset type 1 responds very well to most medications, while subset 2 does not respond well to pharmacological treatment. The problem facing subset type 2 patients is that there has been no real way to know what kind of Crohn’s they have prior to beginning the medication regimen. Unfortunately, many type 2 patients have gone down the road of attempting to use medications to help heal the inflammation, while they really needed surgery to fix the problem. As knowledge of the subtype increases, treatment plans will be able to be adjusted, hopefully saving the patient a lot of pain and flare-ups.

A recent October 2018 study reveals that researchers have discovered a new molecule able to differentiate between the different subsets of Crohn’s. This is good news for patients because this information better lets doctors know how to treat the problem. Forms of Crohn’s that do not respond well to medication are better treated with surgery before the inflammation worsens.

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

For patients that do not yet have a diagnosis, it’s helpful to know some of the symptoms of Crohn’s because they should not be ignored. If any of the following symptoms persist for two weeks or longer, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor: abdominal pain, diarrhea, constant feeling of fullness, blood in the stool, and unexpected weight loss. It may be tough to differentiate between a passing virus and IBD or Crohn’s, but when it is the latter, symptoms persist and worsen and do not go away. It is always best to consult with your doctor to either get the diagnosis so you can immediately have treatment or rule out Crohn’s disease or IBD. Symptoms after Crohn’s has progressed may include conditions such as kidney stones, skin rashes, ulcers, arthritis, and gallstones. If you experience any of these symptoms suddenly, don’t delay in seeing a specialist. 

If you need more information about inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, or you would like to have a consultation with one of our doctors, book an appointment with GI Associates today. Children and adolescents can also be diagnosed with IBD, GI Pediatric department is a specialty within a specialty. The peds physicians know that treating IBD in children isn’t just a matter of size. With three locations and pediatric services, we offer GI care to the entire family.

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