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The Range of Treatments For Crohn's Disease

By Sarah Jenkins

The primary goal for Crohn's Disease treatment is to control inflammation in the digestive system. Because most of the symptoms are a result of the swelling, most of the negative effects of the disease will cease when inflammation is reduced. Treatment may include medication therapy, or in extreme cases, surgery.

Medication to treat Crohn's disease falls into one of four categories: anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, antibiotics, and symptom relief drugs.

Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Sulfasalazine, Mesalamine, and Corticosteroids, are usually the first step in treating Crohn's Disease. Sulfasalazine is very effective; however, it has severe side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, and headaches. Mesalamine, on the other hand, has fewer side effects but has been used for considerably less time. Corticosteroids are a common treatment for a myriad of disorders. However, they are less effective in Crohn's Disease and have serious side effects.

Because Crohn's Disease is caused by an exaggerated response of your immune system, immune suppressors are often an effective form of treatment. Azathioprine and mercaptopurine are the most common forms used to treat IBD. Unfortunately, many of these medications cause very negative side effects, such as liver damage, high blood pressure, cancer and increased risk of infection.

Antibiotics are typically used to reduce infection and to heal fistulas and abscesses. These, too, have potential side effects; however, in the case of infection, treatment is necessary to avoid progression.

Symptom relief medications are often necessary as the effects of Crohn's Disease are so severe. Anti-diarrheals, laxatives, pain relievers, iron supplements, and nutritional supplements may make Crohn's more bearable for sufferers. Due to excessive diarrhea, medication is often necessary to avoid dehydration and to improve the quality of life in general. On the other hand, inflammation may cause constipation also; so laxatives may be used to promote bowel movements. Abdominal pain is a common complaint among those with IBD; however, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, should not be used to treat Crohn's. Nutritional and iron supplements may be used to replenish lacking vitamins and minerals to your system.

Surgery is sometimes required in severe cases of Crohn's. It may be necessary to remove diseased portions of your digestive tract, or simply to close fistulas and drain abscesses. However, surgery is usually only used as a last resort after other treatment methods have been ineffective.

Crohn's Disease can not be cured; however, with many of these treatment methods, relief may be available from the disease.

About The Author
Sarah Jenkins is an acclaimed writer on medical matters, and has written extensively on the subjects of Attention Deficit Disorder, Bird Flu and Cohn's Disease.

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