Drugs that reduce inflammation:
- Steroids: They reduce inflammation (Should not be used in long term treatment)
- Sulfasalazine and 5- Aminosalicylates (5-ASA): These drugs reduce the production of specific chemicals that activate inflammation
- Immunomodulators: These drugs modify the way the body mounts an inflammatory response
- Biologicals: These target and block specific molecules involved in inflammation
- Antibiotics: While most are not anti-inflammatory (although some are), they do reduce infection that can be caused by the immune modulating effects as described above
Drugs that manage symptoms:
- Antacids: Drugs that reduce acid
- Analgesics: These are for pain reduction
- Anti-diarrheals: They should be used very carefully and with your doctor’s consent
- Antispasmodics: These drugs reduce cramping by relaxing muscles in the wall of the GI tract
Vitamins and minerals:
These may be required as supplements.
Your doctor will decide which of these or combination of these drugs is right for your specific case. Remember all drugs come with side effects and you should educate yourself about possible side effects before using them.
When drug therapy fails, surgery is the next option. It can greatly improve the quality of life of a person suffering with IBD. About 70% of people with CD and 40% of those with UC will require some sort of surgery at some point in their lives.
People living with IBD are at greater risk of problems like dehydration and malnutrition. It is important that they eat a balanced diet and take supplements if needed. Your diet does not cause symptoms but it may make it worse. Identify trigger foods (foods that make symptoms worse) and safe foods (food that doesn’t cause problems) by keeping a food journal. Every person is unique but most safe foods include: white bread, bananas and applesauce. You may want to talk to a dietitian to help you in this area.
It is important to maintain a low stress lifestyle. Stress, like diet, cannot cause symptoms but it can aggravate them. Even though fatigue is a symptom of IBD it is important that you keep exercising. This may include light activities such as: walking, swimming, playing with your pet and yoga. Try to stay positive, this can be hard when dealing with a chronic illness but remember you can have a normal life when you are in remission.