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Crohn's disease treatment includes a variety of drugs, such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory agents, or drugs that suppress the immune system. Other Crohn's disease treatment options include surgery and dietary supplements to make up for nutrients lost due to the symptoms of the condition. Some patients with Crohn's also find treatments such as acupuncture and taking probiotic or prebiotic supplements to be helpful.
Since it is an auto-immune disorder, or a disease where the immune system turns against the body, one form of Crohn's disease treatment is prescribing drugs that suppress the immune system, such as 6-mercaptopurine. Immunosuppressive drugs prevent inflammation by blocking the immune system's natural response. While the drugs may be effective, they are not without risk. A person taking immunosuppressive drugs is at a greater risk for outside infection and may experience side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Another Crohn's disease treatment is a prescription of corticosteroids, such as Prednisone. Corticosteroids control inflammation in the body and may also suppress the immune system. Unfortunately, they should not be used for a long period of time as they can have serious side effects, such as osteoporosis and high blood pressure. They may also stunt the growth of children. In some cases, immune system suppressors are used along with corticosteroids to increase effectiveness.
Other common drug treatments for Crohn's disease include antibiotics such as Cipro, which can help control the amount of unhealthy bacteria in the intestine and help clear up abscesses and fistulas that form as a result of the disease. A person may also take laxatives, pain relievers or anti-diarrheal medications to deal with the day-to-day symptoms of Crohn's.
Some patients find relief by trying an alternative Crohn's disease treatment. Acupuncture may relieve symptoms and pain for some patients. Other alternative treatments include taking herbal supplements such as slippery elm or peppermint oil. Taking fish oil to raise the levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the body may help reduce inflammation. It can be risky to take herbal supplements while on medication, so people suffering from Crohn's should check with their doctors before trying a new treatment.
A change in diet can be an effective Crohn's disease treatment as well. Some patients may want to eliminate certain high fiber foods, such as broccoli or beans, from their diet while others may benefit from adding a bit of fiber. Many patients find their symptoms ease up a bit when they cut out troublesome foods, such as dairy, fatty foods, and caffeine.