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Medically Approved

Can Crohn’s disease be cured?

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Current researchTreatmentCausesSummary
Crohn’s disease currently has no cure, and your symptoms may come and go over time. But treatment can help reduce this and improve your overall quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Cynthia Taylor Chavoustie, MPAS, PA-C
Written by Uxshely Carcamo
Updated on

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes irritation and inflammation in your digestive tract. The condition can affect any part of your digestive tract but usually affects your small intestine and the start of your large intestine. 

Currently, there is no cure. Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition, which means that it often lasts for a long time and needs ongoing management.

At times, you may have few to no symptoms. Other times, your symptoms may worsen, also known as flare-ups.

Current research

Someone with their hands flat on their stomach.

Scientists are trying to understand more about what causes Crohn’s disease. Understanding the causes may help them figure out new treatment options. Some areas being researched include: 

Earlier detection of symptoms

Several tests can already be used to predict flare-ups and provide management options for Crohn’s. Examples include C-reactive protein and fecal calprotectin tests.

Developing further testing may help predict flare-ups sooner and allow for more effective management of symptoms.  

Better understanding of causes

There is a primary focus on understanding the potential causes of Crohn’s disease.

For example, research from 2016 suggests that getting an infection involving the bacterium Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) may lead some people to develop Crohn’s disease. Though researchers do not yet agree on the role that MAP plays in the condition, antibiotic treatment to target MAP may be helpful in some cases.  

Current research, including a study from 2023, is exploring how specific variations in genes can be connected to some complications of Crohn’s disease. Other researchers, such as in a 2023 animal study, are also looking at how the factors driving microorganisms in the gut can cause inflammation. 

New medications and therapies 

Several new medications and therapies are currently being trialed. For example, researchers in 2023 looked at a probiotic made from the bacteria E. coli that may be able to block inflammation in the gut. 

Treatments that manage how the immune system communicates with microbes in the gut are also being explored.

2022 study on mice showed that a new medication might be able to reset the immune system and lower inflammation in the intestines.

Ultimately, more research is needed to confirm how these new therapies could be used. 

Treatment options

Current treatment options for Crohn’s disease aim to prevent and manage flare-ups and complications. 

Examples include:


A doctor may suggest that you take medication such as:

  • Aminosalicylates: This type of medication aims to manage inflammation and immune system reactions. Examples include balsalazide (Colazal) and mesalamine (Delzicol)
  • Steroids: They can help reduce inflammation and get to work within a few days. Examples include budesonide (Pulmicort) and hydrocortisone (Cortef).
  • Immunomodulators: This type of medication can reduce the activity of your immune system and inflammation in your gut. Examples include azathioprine (Imuran) and cyclosporine (Gengraf).
  • Biologic therapies: This treatment method aims to target and neutralize proteins made by the immune system. Examples include adalimumab (Amgevita) and natalizumab (Tysabri).
  • Other medications: A doctor may also suggest that you take other medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain or antibiotics to prevent or treat complications.

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Bowel rest 

If your symptoms are severe, you may need to take a break from food and most drinks for a few days or weeks. This allows your digestive system time to rest and heal. Bowel rest must be supervised by a doctor. 


Some people with Crohn’s disease may require surgery to manage symptoms or to treat complications. Surgery options can include: 

  • Small bowel resection: This involves removing part of your small intestine.
  • Subtotal colectomy: This involves removing a part of your large intestine.
  • Proctocolectomy and ileostomy: This involves removing your entire colon and rectum. An opening is then made in your abdomen, and stool collects in a pouch outside your body. 

Diet and lifestyle measures

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) suggests that making some changes to your diet and lifestyle can help to manage Crohn’s symptoms. These changes include: 

  • avoiding fizzy drinks
  • avoiding nuts, vegetable skins, and other high fiber foods 
  • eating small, regular meals 
  • drinking plenty of liquids

The Harvard Medical School suggests that giving up smoking can help to reduce Crohn’s symptoms. Caffeine and alcohol can also make symptoms worse, so it can be helpful to avoid them. 

The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation suggests that exercise can also help to manage symptoms.

Mental health support

If you are living with Crohn’s disease, you may find getting some mental health support helpful. Stress management tools like meditation or yoga can also help reduce your symptoms. 


It isn’t clear exactly what causes Crohn’s disease. The NIDDK suggests that causes could include: 

  • Genetics: You are more likely to develop Crohn’s disease if a family member also has the condition. 
  • Autoimmune reaction: Bacteria in your gut may mistakenly trigger your immune system to attack healthy cells in your digestive system. 
  • Smoking: You are twice as likely to develop Crohn’s disease if you smoke. 
  • Diet: A diet high in animal fat may slightly increase your chance of developing the condition.
  • Some medications: Taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, birth control pills, and antibiotics may slightly increase your chance of developing Crohn’s disease. 


Crohn’s disease affects each person differently. You may go for long periods of time without symptoms. Or you may be someone that has more regular flare-ups, which can cause unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea and pain in your abdomen. 

People with Crohn’s disease usually live just as long as people without the condition. Those with Crohn’s can still live happy, productive, and fulfilling lives. 

There is currently no permanent cure for Crohn’s disease. But with the right tools and treatments, you can manage your symptoms and prevent flare-ups. Research is also being carried out to better understand the causes of Crohn’s disease. This research offers hope for new treatment options in the future. 

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