Crohn’s disease develops as a result of inflammation in the ileum. Strong evidence supports that there is a virus responsible for this inflammation.
Although inflammation is generally localized in the ileum, it can affect the entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This inflammation causes agitation of the bowels, compelling them to empty, which can result in diarrhea, pain, and discomfort. Individual's with Crohn’s disease must endure significant pain and discomfort, because there is no known cure. Moreover, an individual can also lose control of their bowel movements.
Most patients who have Chron's disease have been forced to completely change their lifestyle; some are even compelled to cancel vacations, or quit their jobs. Why? Chron's can create immense stress for an individual with the condition, and it can interfere with their everyday life.
Drugs or surgery are two options that patients are obliged to choose from. The options are outlined by the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH). According to the NIH, there is currently no sure remedy for Crohn’s disease. Therefore, treatment options are mostly focused on managing symptoms; they are not able to completely alleviate the disease.
Both pharmaceutical and surgical treatment options may only help to relieve pain and discomfort. Moreover, they may introduce side effects that have adverse effects on one’s emotional health, and biological systems. Some of these side effects include:
The NIH also advocates that drugs containing mesalamine are normally prescribed to Crohn’s disease patients. The anti-inflammatory drug prescribed targets inflammation in the small intestine. It should be noted that pharmaceutical remedies containing mesalamine do not cure inflammation, it only covers the intestines partially and barely alleviates any pain or damage to the small intestine.
Steroids (corticosteroids) may be prescribed for patients who experience severe symptoms. However, as previously mentioned, if these drugs are taken for too long, they may result in severe side effects. Steroids may also make Crohn’s disease patients more susceptible to infection, thus exposing them to additional health problems.
The FDA has approved other drugs, like Infliximab, for patients with Chron's disease. However, the drug is not cost effective and has several side effects.
Contrary to belief, surgery is a temporary solution, and is only performed under dire situations. During surgery, the inflamed parts of the small intestine is removed. However, one problem that can arise is that the removed area grows back in another part of the ileum. These facts show that surgery is just a last resort measure, employed to deal with serious complications, like formation of an abscess or intestinal bleeding.
Doctors may also recommend a colectomy: a surgical solution that involves the removal of the entire colon. Typically, there is no real solution that combats Crohn’s disease successfully, and in a way, only solidifies that a Chron's disease patient will always experience symptoms throughout their life from this illness.
The human body’s regenerative properties make it difficult to completely cure Crohn’s through surgery. When cells are destroyed, they are immediately replaced by new ones. The same applies to bones.
Chron's disease treatment is different depending on the individual. Suitable treatment varies from one person to another. So, it is advisable to take prescription drugs when symptoms begin to show. Patients should also consider changes in their diet to help make living with Chron's disease more manageable.