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Crohn's Disease: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Sep 10, 2021

What is the treatment?

Crohn’s disease is basically a chronic inflammation disease that occurs in the digestive tract and affects the lining. It can be extremely painful. This disease is quite rare and does not have a cure as of now. However, the treatment focusses on making the condition more manageable.Crohn’s disease can last for many years, or even your entire life. The treatment centers on the symptoms of the disease including abdominal pain, fatigue, anaemia, vomiting, and any other complications that may develop from having this disease.

There are many treatment options available for Crohn’s disease, which is fortunate because not all the options tend to be effective on everyone. The effectiveness of the treatments largely depends on your medical history and your body type. Your doctor may recommend one or more of these treatment types as time goes on.

The first and main type of treatment is medication. You will be prescribed a series of drugs in dosages that are specific to your needs. Nutrition therapy is also commonly suggested for people who have Crohn’s disease.

Doctors also often prescribe immune system suppressors to help with the inflammation that comes with this disease. Furthermore, a series of other, random medications can also be prescribed to help you deal with symptoms or other complications that may occur.

If none of the treatment types work, your doctor may also suggest surgery in order to reduce the impact of the disease. While the surgery will not cure the disease itself, it can help gain relief from the symptoms of the disease.

What are the 5 types of Crohn's Disease?

The five types of Crohn's Disease are described as follows:

  1. Ileocolitis: Inflammation of the ileum and colon are involved, accompanied by symptoms like diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, and loss of weight.
  2. Ileitis: This involves fistula formation in the lower right part of the abdomen.
  3. Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease: Inflammation of stomach and duodenum are involved, accompanied by symptoms like nausea and loss of appetite.
  4. Jejunoileitis: This is accompanied by areas of inflammation in the duodenum with symptoms of fistula, diarrhoea, and cramps.
  5. Crohn’s colitis: Accompanied by an inflammation in the colon, it shows symptoms like skin lesions, fistula, and joint pain.

What does a Crohn's attack feel like?

Crohn”s attack is accompanied by some of the following symptoms:

  • Fever which may be low grade and pain in the abdomen.
  • Severe conditions of diarrhea, accompanied by weight loss, fatigue, and dehydration.
  • Abdominal cramps especially in lower right regions.
  • Feeling of Nausea may be followed by vomiting.
  • Presence of ulcers in the oral cavity.

Does Crohn's make you smell?

Crohn’s disease has its characteristic smell which usually can be sensed in a person suffering from the disease. The smell that comes out of a person having this condition of inflammation is slightly sour. This is totally different from the smell that can be sensed from a normal colon without any inflammation.

Can Crohn's go away on its own?

Crohn’s disease, which is a condition of chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, needs to be treated in order to get the symptoms resolved. It wouldn’t go away spontaneously without undergoing adequate treatment under the supervision of a doctor. The treatment involves taking prescribed medications. It may lead to severe complications if left untreated and undergoes delayed treatment.

How is the treatment done?

Crohn’s disease is only diagnosed after all other possible diseases and infections are ruled out. This is because there is no specific test designed to diagnose this disease. However, once it is determined that you have this, the treatment options will be laid out in front of you. One of the most commonly used treatment methods is to prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs.

Since Crohn’s disease leads to inflammation in the lining of your digestive tract, this is one of the best ways to combat it. Immune suppressants are another line of treatment. These medications target the immune system and dull the effects of the part of the system that causes inflammation to indicate that something is wrong. Often, this line of treatment works very well. Antibiotics are also another option.

As this disease affects the digestive system, nutrition therapy is one of the most important treatment types. Since the bowel is inflamed, it may not be able to absorb nutrition from food correctly. Therefore, a feeding tube is often administered, or nutrition is administered through an IV. This allows your bowel to rest and calm down, which reduces the overall inflammation as well.

Furthermore, nutrition therapy is often combined with medications. You will be required to have a low fiber diet in order to allow your body more time to absorb nutrients from food. Depending on the kinds of complications you develop from this disease, you can also be prescribe anti-diarrhoea medication, pain medication, nutritional supplements, pills to help you sleep, multivitamins, and other medications. The idea is to make the disease more manageable.

If none of these work, the doctor will perform a surgery. During the procedure, the damaged parts of the digestive tract will be taken out. However, it is important to note that this only helps you maintain and control the disease, and does not fully cure it. Surgery is quite common in people suffering from Crohn’s disease.


Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

People who have been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease are eligible for seeking out any of the treatment options. You can seek medical attention the minute you feel any discomfort.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

People who have not been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease are not eligible for seeking out the treatment for the condition. People with Crohn’s disease who have not tried other treatments are usually advised not to jump into surgery straight away.

Are there any side effects?

Since there is a wide range of treatment options, there are multiple side effects with each that you need to be vary of. If you are being treated with medications that are anti-inflammatory, you may be prescribed corticosteroids. These should not be used for a prolonged time period and are mostly used when other medicines don’t work as they can lead to weakness in the bones.

If you are being treated with immune suppressants, some of the risks that can come with it are an increased vulnerability to infections in general, liver inflammation, brain disease, and weakness. With surgery, the side effects include bruising, swelling, pain, and a dependency on IV feedings if you develop a short gut.

It is important to note that the medications that you may be prescribed for other complications can have side effects too. You should not take too many pain killers as they can make the disease worse after a certain point. Antibiotics naturally raise the temperature of the body and you can expect a mild fever to occur while you are taking them.

Is Crohn's Disease serious?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that is accompanied by inflammation in the stomach and intestine. Treatment is usually possible in such cases and it does not always cause life-threatening conditions.

But in some of the cases, if it is left untreated or in case of delayed treatment it may prove to be serious and can develop complications such as serious infections and colorectal cancer, which are concerning. Early treatment may lead to early recovery and prevent any kind of seriousness.

What happens if Crohn's is left untreated?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition of inflammation of the bowel pathway which may be any part of our gastrointestinal tract. Although a cure is not possible, treatment can be done to control the disease. In case the inflammation is left untreated it may lead to the following complications:

  • Bowel obstruction.
  • Occurrence of fistulas.
  • Anal fissure.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Cancer of colon.
  • Osteoarthritis, kidney stones, and ulcer formation.

Is Crohn's Disease a disability?

Crohn’s disease is considered as a disability by the Social Security Administration(SSA) department on the basis that the condition causes an obstruction in the ability of a person to perform works of daily living or on a substantial basis. The disease undergoes evaluation by SSA as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and needs to show a confirmed diagnosis along with any of the complications such as Bowel Obstruction.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Since there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, all the post treatment guidelines are applicable for the rest of your life. One of the most common guidelines is to watch your diet and ensure that any inflammatory food is not taken in the system. This can include dairy products, high fiber foods, and acidic foods. Spicy food, alcohol, and caffeine will need to be avoided as well. Other lifestyle changes such as reducing stress and quitting smoking are also ones that will have to be made. Regularizing your fluid intake and eating small meals can help you manage your Crohn’s disease in a better way.

How long does it take to recover?

Crohn’s disease can last for years, or even an entire lifetime. Therefore, there is no set recovery period for the same. Often, the disease goes into remission with the help of medications and a controlled diet. However, you can always expect it to eventually come back.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Most medications in India cost anywhere between Rs. 50 – Rs 150, depending on the brand you prefer and the dosage you have been prescribed. If you have Crohn’s disease, it is advisable to see a dietician. The cost of seeing a dietician in India can range from Rs. 3000 – Rs. 5000 per month. Finally, surgery can be quite expensive. It can cost anywhere between Rs. 1,50,000 to Rs. 4,00,000, depending on where you are getting the surgery and the city you live in. Hospitalization rates also differ largely from city to city.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results of any treatment, including surgery, are not permanent when it comes to Crohn’s disease. This is because there is no cure for the disease. You can only hope to suppress the symptoms for as long as possible, or to make the disease a bit more bearable for yourself.

What do I eat if I have Crohn's Disease?

The foods we eat in the chronic inflammation during Crohn’s disease play a major role in affecting the health both positively as well as negatively. Hence it is important to know about food items that are preferable to be consumed during the condition. Some of those include:

  • Fruits rich in low fibre content, including banana and honeydew melon.
  • Sources of lean proteins such as fish, eggs, tofu, and soy.
  • Sources of refined grains like white pasta, oatmeal, and white rice.
  • Consumption of vegetables in the fully cooked form such as cucumber, asparagus, and potato.
  • Intake of protein supplements.

What can you not eat when you have Crohn's Disease?

Some of the food items that need to be avoided in such conditions include the following:

  • Lactose sources such as dairy products including milk, cheese, and cream.
  • Food rich in high fibre content, including whole grains and nuts and raw uncooked form of vegetables.
  • Sugar rich diets such as juices and cakes.
  • Fat rich food items such as butter, deep-fried items, and margarine.
  • Caffeine sources and alcohol.
  • Hot and spicy foods.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There are certain home remedies and alternative treatments that you can look into to make the disease more manageable. Herbal and nutritional supplements can help, however, it is advised to consult with your doctor before adding them to your diet. Some studies have found that adding probiotics to your diet can help with keeping Crohn’s disease in remission. To manage pain, some people resort to acupuncture.

Summary: Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition of inflammation of the bowel pathway which may be any part of our gastrointestinal tract. Although a cure is not possible, treatment can be done to control the disease. The treatment involves the application of prescribed medications such as steroids, antibiotics, etc. under the supervision of a doctor. If left untreated or in case of delayed treatment it may prove to be serious and can develop complications such as serious infections and colorectal cancer.


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Written ByDr. Akhilesh Singh Post Graduate Course In Diabetology,CCEBDM(DIABETOLOGY) & CCMH ( CARDIOLOGY)General Physician
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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