Crohn's disease affects each person differently, and people respond to treatments differently as well. Your Mayo doctor will work with you to design a treatment regimen that will bring you the greatest benefit with the fewest side effects. You are actively involved in treatment decisions.
Mayo Clinic doctors usually recommend one or more medications as an initial treatment for Crohn's disease: corticosteroids, immunomodulators, biologicals, antibiotics and Natalizumab. Mayo also continually tests experimental drugs in clinical trials.
Mayo Clinic doctors sometimes recommend surgery, either removing a section of diseased bowel, strictureplasty to widen a short and narrow bowel segment, or treating fistulas. Surgery can often provide immediate relief and may even lead to years of remission. In some people medications after surgery reduce the risk of recurrence. Mayo Clinic surgeons are experienced in using minimally invasive (laparoscopic) techniques and in bowel-sparing operations.
Absorbing nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight can be a problem for people with Crohn's disease, especially after bowel resection surgery. At Mayo Clinic, dietitians with expertise in inflammatory bowel disease are part of your treatment team. If your digestive problems are severe, Mayo specialists may recommend special diets or home parenteral nutrition.
Many women with Crohn's disease worry about their ability to conceive or give birth to a healthy baby. Although having IBD can present certain difficulties, most women can have a successful pregnancy and delivery. It's important to work with a high-risk obstetrician and a gastroenterologist specializing in Crohn's disease. Mayo Clinic doctors have special expertise in guiding Crohn's patients through pregnancy and delivery, and can offer many options for women wishing to conceive.
Crohn's disease often causes swelling outside the digestive system — in the joints, eyes or skin. Crohn's can also cause other health problems such as anemia, osteoporosis, and gallbladder or liver disease. Mayo's integrated team approach means all your problems can be addressed by Mayo specialists who work closely with your primary team.
Crohn's disease often takes an even greater physical and emotional toll on young people, slowing their growth and delaying sexual maturation. At Mayo, young patients and their families work closely with a psychologist who can help them navigate the day-to-day difficulties of living with Crohn's disease.
Mayo's commitment to supportive and ongoing care is especially important for younger patients. The longer a person has Crohn's disease, the more likely it is that complications will occur. Through the years, Mayo doctors can provide careful, long-term monitoring and also help with decisions about school and other activities.
Mayo's advanced diagnostic tests such as MR enterography don't expose children to ionizing X-ray radiation, which can be a concern when repeated imaging tests are needed over the years.
Read more about Crohn's disease treatment.