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Crohn’s disease causes swelling, inflammation, and irritation, which leads to ulceration of the digestive tract. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and often affects the small intestine and the colon. All layers of the lining of the digestive tract may be affected. While this disease has no cure, the symptoms can be treated. Help manage your symptoms by following your doctor’s advice and avoiding foods that cause irritation.
Abdominal pain and cramping
Urgent need to move bowels or sensation of incomplete evacuation
High fever and chills
Loss of appetite; possible weight loss
Bloody or persistent diarrhea
Nausea or vomiting
Skin rashes and ulceration
Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. They may include medications, lifestyle changes, surgery, or a combination of these. Treatment helps you stay as active as you want to be. Keep in mind that Crohn’s is considered chronic. That means it usually can’t be cured. But treatment may ease symptoms. And even though you have a chronic illness, you can still live a full life.
Certain medications can help your symptoms. These may include:
Medications to control your body's immune system, such as 6-mercaptopurine or azathioprine
Corticosteroids (for short-term, but not maintenance treatment) to help reduce inflammation
Antibiotics to fight bacteria, if there are infectious complications
Certain foods can worsen symptoms. You may need to change what you eat. Avoid any food that makes your symptoms worse. These foods vary from person to person. But high-fiber foods (such as fresh vegetables) and high-fat foods (such as dairy products and red meat) cause symptoms in many people. Keep track of foods that cause you problems.
To a lesser degree, stress may possibly worsen symptoms. Reducing stress may help. Techniques like relaxation exercises, meditation, and deep breathing can help you control stress. Your health care provider may be able to tell you more about these.
Surgery may help control Crohn’s, relieving digestive tract symptoms. Surgery can remove a severely affected part of the digestive tract. If this is an option for you, your doctor can give you more information. Keep in mind that surgery is not a cure for Crohn's. You will need to continue to closely follow up with your doctor after surgery for further treatment and testing recommendations.
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