The ultimate goal of treatment is to make symptoms go away and keep the patient in remission (no symptoms).
Medicine is tried first to help control swelling and irritation for both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. There are several types of medications used to control the swelling and irritation. Medications are chosen based on where the disease is located and the severity of the irritation. In many cases, medications work to control both diseases, so surgery is not needed for a very long time.
Because of the inflammation with IBD, the intestine is unable to do its job of breaking down food and absorbing the nutrients. This can cause poor growth, poor weight gain and poor nutrition. The IBD team includes dietitians who are experts in evaluating nutrition and who work with patients and families to create an individual nutrition plan. The goal is to ensure each patient is getting a variety of foods, enough calories, and nutrients to support growth and development.
Enteral (nutritional) therapy may be helpful in some patients with IBD. Patients who are felt to be a good candidate for enteral nutrition receive support and guidance from our expert IBD dietitians.
Surgery may be recommended when medicine cannot control the symptoms or when there are other medical problems. Surgery for Crohn's disease may help relieve constant symptoms or correct problems. It is not a cure for Crohn's disease because the disease usually comes back.
Ulcerative colitis can be cured by removing the colon (colectomy). Colorectal surgeons in Cincinnati Children’s Peña Colorectal Center are among a very few in the country who can perform minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgeries on children and teens with IBD.