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Treatment

I'll Be Driven to find a treatment plan that helps me better manage IBD.

Your Treatment Journey

Start your Treatment Journey to rethink how you're managing IBD, explore your treatment options, and learn the risks and benefits associated with each treatment. Complete all five challenges along your journey to earn your Senior Partner badge.

By the end of your journey, we hope you'll be driven to work with your doctor to find the treatment plan that helps you better manage IBD.

start journey

Why Treat IBD?

Treating your inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is one of the most important choices you can make when it comes to overall disease management.

Benefits of treating IBD

Depending on the treatment, benefits may include:

  • Symptom relief
  • Reduced inflammation, leading to healing of the gastrointestinal tract lining
  • Possibility of achieving remission (the absence of symptoms)
  • Possibility of maintaining remission (preventing flares)
  • Lower risk of certain complications
  • Improved physical health
  • Improved quality of life

Risks of not treating IBD

Choosing to not treat IBD may result in:

  • Active disease symptoms (diarrhea, abdominal pain, etc.)
  • Increased inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Higher frequency of flares
  • Higher risk of certain complications
  • Poorer health status
  • Inability to do as many of the things you love

Play the Matching Game

How well do you know IBD medications?
Match the medication class on the left with its description on the right. At the end, we'll let you know how you did!

Challenge 1 of 5

Play the Matching Game

Medication Types Descriptions
A Aminosalicylates 1 Fast-acting anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat flare-ups;
intended for short-term use
B Antibiotics 2 Newest IBD drugs; target proteins that play a role in inflammation; intended for long-term use; can help maintain remission
C Corticosteroids 3 May reduce intestinal bacteria; intended for long-term use, particularly in Crohn's disease; may help maintain remission
D Immunomodulators 4 Contain the compound 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA), which helps control inflammation; may help maintain remission
E Biologic therapies 5 Weaken the activity of the immune system to reduce inflammation; may help patients maintain remission and get off corticosteroids sooner
 

Play the Matching Game: Results

Challenge 1 of 5

You Got
0 out of 5
Correct

Medications are an important part of your IBD management plan. Work with your doctor to weigh the risks and benefits of medications and make the treatment decisions that are right for you. Learn more

CORRECT ANSWERS:

A 4
B 3
C 1
D 5
E 2

Challenge 2 of 5

Learn About Complementary Therapies

Many people with IBD use complementary therapies to help manage symptoms. But it's important to understand that complementary therapies should not replace treatment with prescription medications. Additionally, you should always tell your doctor if you are using or planning to use complementary therapies, as they could interact with your medications or with other products.

Keep going. You’re on your way to earning the Senior Partner badge!

Roll over the commonly used complementary therapies below to see their potential benefits and risks:

Vitamins

Possible benefits
Many people with IBD may experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies for a variety of reasons. Common reasons include lack of absorption of nutrients in the GI system, and elimination of certain problematic foods from their diet (which in turn means elimination of important nutrients). But vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, folic acid and iron supplements can help replace vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Possible risks
In general, vitamins are considered low-risk, but excessive use of certain vitamins may be harmful, so it's important to discuss your vitamin and mineral needs with your doctor. Also, keep in mind that unlike pharmaceutical products, vitamins are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Probiotics

Possible benefits
Probiotics can help restore the "good" bacteria that normally reside in the intestines. Some scientific evidence shows that probiotics may help people with IBD maintain remission, and prevent and treat pouchitis — a complication that can result from surgery to remove the colon.

Possible risks
Probiotics are generally low risk. Some people may experience mild gas or bloating. And keep in mind that unlike pharmaceutical products, probiotics are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Also, the safety of probiotics in young children, older adults, and people with compromised immune systems has not been adequately studied.

Fish oils

Possible benefits
Fish oils — found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines as well as some nuts and green vegetables — provide an anti-inflammatory effect and may help relieve intestinal inflammation, but studies have not shown an effect on maintaining remission in IBD.

Possible risks
Fish oils are generally low risk, but it's important to note that there are conflicting studies when it comes to their ability to relieve symptoms and maintain remission. Also, unlike pharmaceutical products, fish oil supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Natural aloe vera supplement

Possible benefits
Aloe vera is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. Some people with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis who drink aloe vera juice have reported reduced symptoms.

Possible risks
People with IBD should be cautioned that aloe vera, taken orally, has a laxative effect. Plus, it can boost your immune system. This can be dangerous for people with IBD, who already have an overactive immune system. Keep in mind that unlike pharmaceutical products, aloe vera products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Tell Us About You

Challenge 3 of 5

What are you using (or have you used) to treat your IBD?
(Check all that apply.)

Prescription medications Complementary & alternative medicine
Over-the-counter medications Surgery
Modified diet I'm not treating IBD
 

Tell Us About You

Challenge 3 of 5

Treating IBD is an important part of your overall IBD management plan.
Even if you don't have active disease symptoms, treatment can:

  • Reduce the risk of flare-ups
  • Help maintain lower levels of inflammation
  • Contribute to healing of the gastrointestinal tract lining
  • Improve quality of life
  • And more

This Doctor Discussion Guide can help you and your doctor take a closer look at how IBD affects you, and determine if you could be doing more to manage IBD. Be sure to print it, fill it out, and take it to your next appointment.

Get the Facts About Surgery

Challenge 4 of 5

Surgery should only be used as a final
treatment option for IBD.

True
False

Get the Facts About Surgery: Results

Challenge 4 of 5

While surgery does bear some risk, it is an important treatment option for IBD. Plus, in certain situations not having surgery may be riskier than having surgery. Learn more

One more challenge to earn your Senior Partner badge!

Prove That You're Driven

Challenge 5 of 5

Starting today, I will: (Check all that apply.)

Ask myself if I could be doing more to manage my IBD
Tell my doctor if I'm not satisfied with my current treatment
Learn more about all my treatment options, and discuss the benefits and risks with my doctor
Begin a Medication Log — keeping track of my medication details and any symptoms or side effects — to help me and my doctor see how effectively my treatment is working
Maintain a healthy lifestyle to get the most from my treatment and help manage IBD
 

Prove That You're Driven

Challenge 5 of 5

Get Your Senior Partner Badge

Congratulations!

You finished the Treatment Journey and earned your Senior Partner badge. To save your badge in your profile, please log in or register.

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I Earned the Senior Partner Badge
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Patient Perspectives

Two patients share their individual IBD treatment journeys.

Doctor Insight

Dr. Stephen Hanauer talks about IBD treatment options.

Be Inspired. Inspire Others.

Earn your badges, then share your experience with others living with IBD.