Treatments for IBD also include various surgical options. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease have very different surgical options.
Resection. The most common type of surgery for Crohn’s disease is the resection, during which surgeons remove a diseased piece of the intestine and reconnect the two healthy ends. This type of surgery is not used for ulcerative colitis because the disease will return in the section of the colon that remains.
Strictureplasty. Surgeons use stricturplasty in Crohn’s disease to open up narrowed sections of the intestine (strictures) by making an incision lengthwise along the stricture and closing it in the opposite direction.
Protocolectomy with creation of ileostomy. A protocolectomy is the complete removal of the colon and an ileostomy is the creation of a stoma for eliminating waste. A stoma is the opening in the abdomen through which waste can leave the body from the small intestine. An ostomy bag must be worn on the abdomen to catch waste materials. This type of surgery may be used to treat both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Protocolectomy with creation of pelvic pouch. After the colon is removed to treat ulcerative colitis, an internal pouch may be created out of the last section of the small intestine (the ileum). With this pouch, there is no need for an external ostomy bag. There are several different types of pelvic pouches (j-pouch, BCIR, etc.), but none are appropriate for Crohn’s disease, as the disease may re-occur in the section of the intestine used to create the pouch.
Adjunct treatments for ulcerative colitis can include acupuncture, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, and stress reduction. These therapies are often used in conjunction with medical treatments to help with the tension caused by being diagnosed with a chronic disease.
One experimental treatment that is being studied for use in IBD is fish oil. The two types of fatty acids found in fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties that are important to several body processes, including blood clotting and immune function.
Other experimental treatments for ulcerative colitis, including aloe vera, butyrate, boswellia, probiotics, antibiotics, immunosuppressive therapy, and nicotine, have not been studied extensively. New therapies for ulcerative colitis may evolve from the ongoing research on these compounds.
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Achkar, MD, Jean-Paul. "Inflammatory Bowel Disease." American College of Gastroenterology. 2006. Cleveland Clinic Foundation. 12 Feb 2007.
NIDDK. "Ulcerative Colitis." National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. February 2006. National Institutes of Health. 12 Feb 2007.
Wolf JL. "Inflammatory Bowel Disease." The National Women's Health Information Center. December 2005. Womenshealth.gov. 12 Feb 2007.