Levels of IBD Treatment
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic condition, and, in most instances, a patient has to manage for a lifetime since it has no cure. But how does one know that they have IBD?
Diagnosis can be made in one of the following ways or through two or more of them, as determined by the doctor.
This test is meant to check for the level of red blood cells in the patient. As we had mentioned earlier, anemia is one of the symptoms of IBD. If a patient’s physical symptoms cause the doctor to suspect IBD, having a low red blood cell count will be one more indication of Crohn’s.
This helps the doctor to view the colon using a specialized device. If the colon appears inflamed or infected, it may be an indication that the patient has IBD. The doctor can also obtain samples for a biopsy during a colonoscopy. Test results from these tissues provide further clarity on the diagnosis.
If there is blood in the sample, you may have the disease. The specimen also helps rule out other conditions present with the same symptoms as Crohn’s, such as bacterial infections.
Sometimes, a doctor may order for imaging such as x-ray, CT Scan, and Magnetic Resonance in case the symptoms are severe. These tests are usually ordered when the diagnosis has been confirmed. Their purpose is to determine the location and extent of the inflammation to decide how to approach treatment.
Crohn’s Disease is not cancer, but a person who has it requires to be screened for colon cancer regularly since they are at a high risk of getting it.
Treatment depends on the severity of a patient’s conditions, and they range from drugs to surgery. Some of the drugs administered for the disease are mild, and the prescription’s strength increases progressively depending on the severity of the condition or if earlier medicines aren’t effective. The following are the different levels of treatment.
5-Aminosalicylic Acid (5-ASA)
Medicine of this category is usually the first level of therapy for IBD. They can be taken orally, as suppositories or as an enema. The method depends on which part of the gut is inflamed. Drugs in this category include olsalazine, sulfasalazine, balsalazide, and mesalamine.
These drugs usually have considerable side effects; it is not advisable to prescribe them on a long-term basis. They are only given when 5-ASAs aren’t effective, and the condition has advanced to moderate or severe. Budesonide and prednisone fall under this category.
The use of immunomodulators suppresses the activity of a user’s immune system, thus reversing the process that caused the inflammation in the first place. Drugs in this category include tofacitinib, azathioprine, and cyclosporine.
The effects of the immune system may also be moderated by some biologics such as infliximab, which neutralize the immune system’s proteins. Other biologics may be prescribed to block inflammation from developing further in the affected area. A doctor may prescribe biologics at any level of severity.
Surgery for IBD is usually done as a last resort because it usually has far-reaching effects on the patient as it means the removal of the colon and rectum. The procedure is referred to as ileal pouch-anal anastomosis. Doctors try to find ways of enabling the patient to continue passing stool as normally as possible. However, sometimes they have to create a permanent opening on the belly through which the patient passes stool through a specialized bag.