The main treatment for Crohn’s disease is :

  • Medicine to stop the inflammation in the intestine.
  • Medicine to prevent flare-ups and keep the disease in remission.

A few people have severe, long-lasting symptoms or complications. These cases may require a stronger medicine, a combination of medicines, surgery, or a procedure called balloon dilation. The type of treatment you need depends on the type of symptoms you have and how bad they are.

There are a few steps you can take to help yourself feel better. Take your medicine just as your doctor tells you to. Exercise, and eat healthy meals. Don’t smoke. Smoking makes Crohn’s disease worse.

Crohn’s disease makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients from food. A meal plan that focuses on high-calorie, high-protein foods can help you get the nutrients you need. Eating this way may be easier if you have regular meals plus two or three snacks each day.

Managing symptoms

Mild symptoms may respond to an antidiarrheal medicine such as loperamide (Imodium, for example). This medicine slows or stops the painful spasms in your intestines that cause symptoms. If your symptoms are mild to moderate, your doctor may have you take antibiotics. Sometimes aminosalicylates are used.

Severe symptoms may be treated with corticosteroids, immunomodulator medicines, or biologics. With severe symptoms, the first step is to control the disease. When your symptoms are gone, your doctor will plan your treatment to keep you symptom-free (in remission).

Some severe cases of Crohn’s disease need to be treated in the hospital. In the hospital, you may get supplemental nutrition through a tube placed in your nose and down into the stomach (enteral nutrition). Or your bowel may need to rest, and you will be fed liquid nutrients in a vein (total parenteral nutrition, or TPN).

Surgery may be needed if no medicine is effective or if you have complications.

Complementary medicine has not been proved effective for Crohn’s disease. But some treatments may improve your well-being. These include special diets and vitamin supplements.


After symptoms are controlled, your treatment will focus on medicine or a combination of medicines that keeps Crohn’s disease in remission.

Your doctor will want to see you about every 6 months if your condition is stable. You’ll be seen more often if you have flare-ups. You may have lab tests every 2 to 3 months.