Coping With Crohn’s Disease

If you suffer from Crohn’s disease, you know just how much of a struggle it is. For those who aren’t familiar with the condition, it is a form of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that causes inflammation in the intestines and digestive tract. It has many painful symptoms, such as: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blood in your stool
  • Mouth sores
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Pain or drainage near or around the anus

These symptoms are not constant, but instead, sporadically come and go. Often the pain of the symptoms is debilitating but if you have severe Crohn’s disease, the symptoms can become life-threatening. It currently has no known cures, but there are some forms of treatment and different therapies available to try and combat the painful symptoms. 

Medication to Relieve Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Just like with many other medical conditions, there are different prescriptions that those with Crohn’s disease take to help alleviate the pain and prevent flare-ups. By reducing or stopping painful symptoms, your body also has time to help heal your damaged intestinal tissue. Some common medications used to treat this disease are:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: Such as corticosteroids or Oral 5-aminosalicylates
  • Immune system suppressors: There are a multitude of immune system suppressors that can be used to combat painful symptoms. Weakening the immune system helps stop the production of substances that cause inflammation. 
  • Antibiotics: Such as Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or Metronidazole (Flagyl)

Diet and Nutrition

When it comes to changing your diet to minimize symptoms, there are a few things you can try. One recommendation is to consume a low-fiber diet. Fiber cannot be completely digested or broken down by the digestive system, which often can cause intestinal blockage and painful bowel movements. Another option is that your doctor may recommend you be placed on a feeding tube (enteral nutrition) or nutrients injected into a vein (parenteral nutrition) to allow your bowels to rest and heal. 

Medical Procedures

Again, there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease but there are surgeries that can temporarily help manage the symptoms. One surgery that can be done when the tissue of the intestine is damaged is called a bowel resection. It removes a section of the damaged intestine and sews the two healthy ends together. This can help ease the pain of inflammation. Another type of surgery, known as an Ostomy, directs the intestines outside of the body to let the rest of the digestive tract heal. When this surgery is performed on the small intestine, it is referred to as an Ileostomy and can be temporary or permanent. When it is performed on the large intestine, it is called a Colostomy. 

There are two types of Colostomies: loop or end. A “loop” colostomy is a reversible surgery in which the side of the colon, or large intestine, is cut and directed outside of the body temporarily. An “end” colostomy is an irreversible surgery in which the end of the colon is directed outside of the body permanently. It is then stitched to the abdominal wall and creates an opening known as a stoma.

NOTE: Content included here is not medical advice, and only is intended as information for adults. Always consult with your health care professional before making changes to diet, exercise, medication, or before use of any product or device.