What is the goal of treating Crohn's disease?

Eliminating all inflammation through different immune-suppressive medications is the ultimate goal for treating Crohn’s disease – an inflammatory bowel disease associated with symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Uncontrolled inflammation of the GI tract from Crohn’s disease can lead to long term damage, specifically narrowing of the bowel (stenosis), uncharacteristic connections between different organs (fistulas), and pus pocket formations (abscesses). A large percentage of patients who do not control their inflammation will require surgery.  To monitor inflammation, doctors use many different tests: inflammatory markers in the blood (CRP, ESR, platelets) and stool (fecal calprotectin), imaging of the abdomen (MRI, CT scans), and various endoscopy tests (colonoscopy).  However, the best marker of inflammation is often how a patient feels.  

The understanding of Crohn's Disease in recent years has increased in the medical community. Learn more from Dr. Eugene Yen on behalf of NorthShore University HealthSystem about treating Crohn's Disease.

Johns Hopkins Medicine
Because Crohn's disease, an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, seems to be genetic in origin, there is no cure once it develops. For that reason, the main goal of any Crohn's treatment is to make you more comfortable, perhaps even bring the disease into remission, at least for a while.
For mild-to-moderate Crohn's, that means providing you with any of a variety of drugs. Some are analgesics; others are steroids, like prednisone. More aggressive medicines that impact your immune system may be needed if the disease progresses. There are also highly aggressive dietary changes (including feeding you through an IV for several weeks) that your doctor might recommend.
In severe cases, surgery might be bring temporary relief. And sometimes surgery may be the only option, such as when the colon's become perforated or if the disease has led to colon cancer.

Continue Learning about Crohn's Disease

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.