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Crohns-Medical Treatment Options

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that primarily affects the gastrointestinal tract. It is believed to be an autoimmune reaction where the immune system attacks healthy cells. It can also interfere with proper nutrient absorption, leading to malnutrition and deficiencies.

Crohn’s is a complex condition that varies from person to person, and the optimal treatment approach can differ based on individual factors such as disease severity, location, complications, and response to medications.

Medical treatment aims to suppress the immune system’s abnormal inflammatory response, control symptoms, reduce inflammation, prevent flareups, maintain remission and resolve nutritional problems. A combination of treatment options is often used to manage the disease, reduce symptoms, prevent complications and improve the patient’s quality of life.

The treatment options for Crohn’s disease may include medications, surgery and nutritional supplementation. In addition to the many medications listed below, people with Crohn’s may need medications to treat diarrhea and abdominal pain including antidiarrheal medications, antispasmodics, and probiotics.


These medications, such as mesalamine and sulfasalazine, are usually prescribed for mild to moderate inflammation in the colon. They work by reducing inflammation and may help maintain remission.

Prednisone and budesonide medications are examples of corticosteroids that can be used to reduce inflammation in moderate to severe Crohn’s disease. They are typically prescribed for short-term use to induce remission but are not recommended for long-term maintenance due to significant side effects.

Medications such as azathioprine, mercaptopurine, and methotrexate can help suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. They are often prescribed for maintenance therapy in combination with other medications to prevent flare-ups and maintain remission.

These medications target specific molecules involved in the immune response. Examples include anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) agents like infliximab, adalimumab, and certolizumab pegol, as well as other biologics like vedolizumab and ustekinumab. Biologic therapies are typically reserved for moderate to severe Crohn’s disease.

Antibiotics such as metronidazole and ciprofloxacin may be prescribed to treat bacterial overgrowth or to reduce inflammation in certain cases of Crohn’s disease.

In some cases, exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) may be used, especially in children. EEN involves a liquid diet that provides all the necessary nutrients. It can help induce remission and promote healing of the intestinal lining.

Surgery may be necessary if medication fails to control symptoms, or in cases of complications like strictures, abscesses, or fistulas. Surgery can involve removing the affected portion of the intestine or repairing damaged areas.

Treatment plans for Crohn’s disease are individualized based on the severity and location of the disease, as well as the patient’s response to specific medications. The goal is to achieve and maintain remission while minimizing symptoms and improving quality of life. It is in your best interest to consult with a board-certified expert at Rockford Gastroenterology Associates who can provide personalized advice and guidance for managing Crohn’s disease.

Additionally, it’s important for individuals with Crohn’s disease to take an active role in managing their condition. This can include adhering to prescribed medications, making necessary dietary modifications (such as avoiding trigger foods or following specific diets like low-residue or low-FODMAP), managing stress levels, getting regular exercise, and seeking support from patient advocacy groups or counseling services.

If you or a loved one suffers with Crohn’s disease contact Rockford Gastroenterology Associates in Rockford, Illinois to ensure you have the correct diagnosis and access to all your treatment options.

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