Treatments for Crohn's disease include drugs and surgery as a last resort, according to Mayo Clinic. As of 2015, Crohn's disease is considered incurable but manageable.
Some doctors treat Crohn's disease patients by starting them on gentler medications, while others start their patients on stronger drugs, according to Mayo Clinic. Anti-inflammatory drugs that work to reduce the inflammation in the patient's intestines are generally prescribed. Oral 5-aminosalicylates work best if the disease is in the large intestine, but this medicine has several uncomfortable side effects.
The drawbacks of corticosteroids are that they do not target the inflammation in the lower GI tract and instead work to reduce inflammation everywhere in the body, as noted by Mayo Clinic. Corticosteroids also have serious side effects and do not work well for all sufferers of Crohn's disease. However, they can be used with immunosuppressant drugs.
Surgery may be needed if the intestines have developed abscesses or fistulas, according to WebMD. Fistulas are unnatural openings in the intestinal tissue, while an abscess is an area of infection. If the fistula can't be closed with medication, the part of the intestine where it is located must be removed. Sometimes, it is enough to drain an abscess.