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Crohn's Disease

Although there is no cure for Crohn's disease, there are a number of treatment options available.

Drug Therapy

Drugs are used to suppress the inflammatory response associated with Crohn's disease, which in turn helps the intestines to heal and relieves symptoms. Once symptoms are under control, medications are used to decrease the frequency of flare-ups and prevent symptoms from recurring. There are several types of drugs available to treat Crohn's disease including aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immune modifiers and biologic therapy.


When medications become ineffective or there is a complication, such as an intestinal obstruction or fistula, surgery may be necessary. Typically, surgery will remove the diseased part of the bowel. The two healthy ends of the bowel are then joined together. Although surgery can provide many symptom free years, it is not considered a cure as the disease usually recurs. As surgery is not curative, it aims to remove as little as possible of the diseased part of the bowel.


During this surgical procedure, the surgeon creates a small opening in the abdomen, called a stoma, to which he or she attaches the end of the small intestine, called the ileum. Waste will travel through the small intestine and exit the body through the stoma, which is about the size of a quarter and is usually located in the lower right part of the abdomen near the beltline. A pouch is worn over the opening to collect waste and the patient empties the pouch as needed.

Nutrition Supplementation

Your doctor may recommend nutritional supplements. A small number of patients may need to be fed intravenously from time to time. This can help those who temporarily need extra nutrition, whose intestines need to rest or whose intestines cannot absorb enough nutrition from food.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers


Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
1701 Divisadero St., Suite 120
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 502-4444
Fax: (415) 502-2249
Appointment information

Gastroenterology at Mount Zion
1701 Divisadero St., Suite 120
San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: (415) 502-4444
Fax: (415) 502-2249
Appointment information

Gastroenterology at Parnassus
350 Parnassus Ave., Suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone: (415) 502-2112
Fax: (415) 514-3300
Appointment information

Gastrointestinal Motility & Secretion Center
400 Parnassus Ave., Box 0310
San Francisco, CA 94143-0310
Phone: (415) 353-9383
Fax: (415) 353-2505
Appointment information