Treatment options for regional enteritis
There is no cure for Crohn’s disease. The severity and symptoms of this condition differs from one person to another. Patients with mild or no symptoms, or whose symptoms are in remission, no treatment is required.
Treatment of Crohns disease always starts with medication to control the inflammation that often triggers various symptoms. Though medical therapy does not aim to cure the disease, it can offer great relief from the various symptoms of the disease and give long-term remission. Relapse, after treatment can be controlled with medications, modifications in lifestyle, and surgery in extreme cases.
Medications that are often used in the treatment of regional enteritis includes anti-inflammatory drugs, immunosuppressant medications, corticosteroid medications, and antibiotics. Additional medications used in the treatment may also include medications for constipation or diarrhea, pain relievers, vitamin supplements and iron supplements.
Patients suffering from this condition may experience periods of relapse (inflammation worsens) followed by periods of remission (reduced inflammation, which lasts from months to years. The goal of any treatment is to
- Induce a remission
- Maintain the remission
- Minimize treatment side effects
- Enhance the quality of life
Selecting the right medication for treating the disease always depends on the severity of the condition, the location of the disease, and other related complications.
To minimize the symptoms, it is necessary that the individual follows certain changes in his/her lifestyle. Changes in lifestyle can minimize symptoms often associated with remission of the disease. Lifestyle changes would include changes in eating habits, exercise, moderate activity, and stress reduction.
Diet and nutrition: Patients suffering from regional enteritis should eat well balanced nutritious meal every day. The diet should include enough nutrients, proteins, and calories from a wide variety of food groups. There is no specific diet that makes this disease better or worse, since a food problem often varies from person to another. Dietary changes should include the following
- Eating small meals throughput the day
- Drinking small amount of water throughout the day
- High fiber diet, high fat food, fried or greasy food items, or sauces should be avoided.
- If dairy product is a problem, then it is better to avoid it. (Dairy products may create problem for some individuals, not everyone)
Smoking habits should be withdrawn, as it may increase regional enteritis problem. Having a healthy diet, followed by proper exercise and enough sleep helps manage fatigue better. Stressful events may also increase the condition. Learning how to manage stress in life helps to manage the disease better.
Although the disease cannot be cured through surgery, it may become a treatment option if the patient experience any partial or full blockage in the intestine. It may also be required when there is obstructions, abscesses and/or fistulas. Surgery may remove the diseased or damaged part of the intestine, and in some cases the entire large intestine will be removed with or without the rectum.
Surgery mainly aims to
- Eliminate the part of intestine that is causing the obstruction
- Drain pus from abscesses
- Treat anal fistulas that do not respond to medications
- Remove fistulas that causes infections
Once, surgery is completed the patients can remain symptom free for some years, after which symptoms re-appear. In most case, recurrence of the symptoms is four years after surgery. However, it has been found that post-operative therapy can delay the recurrence of symptoms. Oral Mesalamine can minimize the risk of post-operative recurrence for up to a period of three years.