Crohn's disease is a long-term (chronic) disease. There is no cure for it. But there are some things that can help to control it. Treatment for the disorder has four goals:
- Correct nutritional problems
- Control the swelling and inflammation
- Ease symptoms such as belly pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding
- Keep complications from occurring. These include tunnels of inflammation to other organs (fistulas) and narrowing of the intestine (stricture) that causes blockages.
Your child’s health care provider will create a care plan based on:
- Your child's age, overall health and medical history
- How serious your child’s case is
- How well your child handles certain medicines, treatments or therapies
- If your child’s condition is expected to get worse
- Your opinion and what you would like to do
Your child’s treatment may include the following.
Medicines often reduce the inflammation in the colon. This may help ease belly cramps and diarrhea. More serious cases may require steroids, antibiotics, or medicines that affect the body's immune system.
Making some changes in your child’s diet may help to ease symptoms. In some cases, symptoms are made worse by milk, hot spices, or fiber. Talk with your child’s provider. Your child may use a special meal plan called an elemental diet.
Vitamins may help prevent some problems or help maintain a remission. Because many children with Crohn's don't absorb nutrients normally, vitamin deficiencies are common. Your child may need lab tests to assess the nutrient levels. Talk with your child’s provider about any vitamin supplements. These treatments have risks and may cause harmful side effects.
Your child’s provider may suggest nutritional supplements or special high-calorie liquid formulas. These may be helpful if your child has delayed growth.
IV or Intravenous feeding
In rare cases, IV feeding may be used for children who need extra nutrition for a short time.
Surgery may help Crohn's disease, but it can’t cure it. Surgery may help to reduce long-term symptoms that don’t get better with medicine. Surgery may also fix some problems. These include a blocked intestine, a hole or perforation, a sore or abscess, or bleeding. Types of surgery may include:
- Draining abscesses in or near fistulas. An abscess is a collection of pus or infection. Treatment includes antibiotics, but surgery may be needed.
- Bowel or intestinal resection. The diseased section of intestine is removed. The two healthy pieces of intestine are attached. This surgery shortens your child’s intestines.
- Ostomy. When part of the intestines is removed, a new way of removing stool from the body is created. The surgery to create the new opening is called an ostomy.