Conventional Treatment for Crohn’s Disease
Conventional wisdom has doctors and researchers treating Crohn’s Disease as well as other gastrointestinal illnesses with medication. Once a diagnosis is made then doctors tailor the medications based on the type of symptoms seen in the sufferer. Since each patient is different, no one specific type of regimen is available to treat all Crohn’s sufferers. However, doctors resort to medications in four different categories for treating their patients.
The conventional medications used are plentiful and fall into four categories including drugs to relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s, anti-inflammatory drugs, medications that suppress the immune system and antibiotics. Some or all of these types of medications are used in varying combinations. Symptom relief drugs allow sufferers to tolerate the illness, but not cure it. This category of medication does nothing to deal with the underlying cause of the disease, which in most cases, is digestive tract inflammation.
Several over the counter drugs are used including anti-diarrhea medications, laxatives, pain pills, as well as iron and nutritional supplements. Sometimes doctors will prescribe more potent forms of these OTC drugs. On the other hand, blockages of the bowel system may be caused by inflammation and the buildup of scar tissue. Doctors will then resort the use of laxatives to aide elimination. Joint and stomach pain are usually treated with acetaminophen because aspirin and other anti inflammatory drugs will exacerbate the problem making the symptoms worse. Vitamin and mineral supplements are used to offset the possibility of malnutrition caused by the body’s inability to absorb the right kind of nutrients.
However, in order to reduce the inflammation, doctors depend on anti inflammatory drugs to reduce the swelling, as well as other negative side effects. Sulfasalazine is the drug most commonly used for this purpose. Its usage does come with side effects including nausea, vomiting and headaches. Other drugs are used with fewer side effects, however they are not as effective in handling the effects of Crohn’s Disease on the body.
Some doctors believe that Crohn’s results from the inability of the immune system to turn off once it activates. Therefore these doctors rely on immune system suppressors to treat the illness. The most common immuno-suppressor used is Azathioprine. Mercaptopurine is also used. But these two drugs come with some ugly and potentially dangerous side effects the include liver damage, high blood pressure, cancer and an increased risk of infection.
Antibiotics are used to heal fistulas abscesses and ulcers, which contribute to infection in the body. The negative side effects are very dangerous for Crohn’s sufferers. However it is a case of which may harm you more, the medication used to treat the illness or the illness itself. There is no good answer to that question except to change what you are doing.