Crohn's disease is unpredictable. People with Crohn's disease experience flare-ups of symptoms, also called attacks (or relapses if they happen more than once), followed by long periods of time, often weeks to years, when the symptoms go away, also called remissions. Flare-ups can cause you to frequently miss work, meals (which can have a negative impact on your nutrition), sleep, or time with your family and friends, and even end up in the hospital.

Everyone's experience with Crohn's disease is slightly different. But you can take control by working with your doctor to find a treatment that's right for you. This can help relieve your symptoms and reduce the number of flare-ups, thus providing long periods of remission.

Can I expect a cure?

Unfortunately, at the moment there is no cure for Crohn's disease. However, effective treatments are available to help you get control of this disease.

What else can I expect from treatment?

Because the effects of Crohn's disease vary from person to person, treatment goals may also vary. Talk to your gastroenterologist about your personal treatment goals and creating a treatment plan. See your doctor regularly so you can track your progress.

Treatment for Crohn's disease involves nutritional therapy (to prevent malnutrition that can occur), medications, and possibly surgery. In general, Crohn's disease treatment aims to:

  • bring your disease under control (relieve symptoms and reduce the frequency of flare-ups)
  • improve your quality of life and help you live a normal, active life
  • prevent and treat complications, such as malnutrition, osteoporosis (thin, brittle bones), and blood clots in the legs, since people with Crohn's disease may be at increased risk for these complications.

It's important to ask yourself, "Is my Crohn's disease as well controlled as it could be?" If your Crohn's disease is not well controlled, talk to your gastroenterologist about the treatment options available to you.

Medications have a variety of roles in treating Crohn's disease. Depending on the medication, the role may be to:

  • relieve symptoms during a flare-up
  • keep the condition in remission
  • control the disease itself, not just the signs and symptoms