How is inflammatory bowel disease treated?
The goal of treatment is to get rid of the inflammation that causes your symptoms. Many types of medicine can help reduce inflammation, including anti-inflammatory drugs and drugs that suppress the immune system. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also recommend an antibiotic, anti-diarrheal, laxative, pain reliever or vitamin supplements. In severe cases of inflammatory bowel disease, you may need to go to the hospital for intravenous (IV) fluids or surgery.
During your treatment, you will most likely be treated by a team of doctors. This team may include your family physician, a gastroenterologist (a specialist in stomach and intestinal disorders) and, possibly, a surgeon.
What can I do to help relieve my symptoms?
The best thing you can do is to take good care of yourself. It's important to eat a healthy diet. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may ask you to cut down on the amount of fiber or dairy products in your diet. It also may be necessary to limit or avoid caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages. In addition to eating well, you need to get enough rest and exercise regularly. It's also important that you learn to manage the stress in your life. When you become overly upset by things that happen at home or at work, your intestinal problems can get worse.
How can I get more information?
By asking questions, reading informational materials and discussing your treatments with your doctor, you'll be able to understand your illness and manage it better. Patient support groups are helpful, especially if you have severe disease.
See a list of resources used in the development of this information.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff