A person in a lab coat holding up a microscope slide.

Research

The amount of research being done into Crohn’s disease is amazing. Right now there are scientists and doctors studying it all: the sun, pollution, diet, the microbiome, antibiotics, fungal-treatments, biologics, exercise, lifestyle, you name it.

I have been involved with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation for many years, and I’ve reviewed some of these studies, and every time I’m amazed by how many different areas are being explored. My reason for mentioning this is merely to suggest that there is hope on the horizon.

More attention and knowledge of Crohn's disease

When I first developed Crohn’s disease, more than thirty years ago, it was quite an uncommon condition. Since then it has become at least ten times more prevalent in America.

More on this topic

Back then, too, the treatments were limited. For example, biologic treatments were not available. You had 5-ASA medications like Asacol, or chemotherapy medicines like 6-MP, and steroids. Now, with Remicade, Humira, Cimzia, Stelara, and more—all biologics—there are hundreds of treatment options.

Changes in surgery over time for Crohn's or colitis

Similarly, back then, if you went into a hospital, with obstructive symptoms, they would operate immediately. Today, because of the risk of adhesions and other factors, not so much.

Often, if you have an obstruction, they will try to wait it out and get you drinking and eating again before sending you home. Surgery has really become more of a last resort.

Increased research and developments for IBD

Medicine changes. Treatments change. The one benefit of Crohn’s disease becoming more prevalent is that more time and money and research is being spent on it. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t see an ad for Humira on television, asking “do you have moderate to severe Crohn’s disease?” “Why Yes, I do,”

I think, watching the same commercial for the thousandth time, amazed that my little condition is getting all this press. That was just not something you would have heard thirty years ago. In fact, when I told someone I had the condition, they looked at me dumbfounded.

No one knew what the hell a Crohn was! I’d have to explain the condition to them and they still wouldn’t understand, just nod and change the subject. What a different world!

Research and treatment advances for Crohn's and UC

At events for The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation they always discuss finding a cure. This seems unlikely.

At times, even, it seems to be a ploy to raise funds. It’s a chronic condition like MS after all. More probable is improved treatment options. Still, you never know.

As mentioned above, the amount of research going into this condition is incredible. Any day now our reality could change. A cure cannot be ruled out.

My intent is not to provide false hope. Rather, it is to merely point out that it could always be worse. Thirty years ago, certainly, the treatments were far more limited.

With all the research taking place, it is likely that in the next thirty years treatments will advance exponentially. Possibly, at some point, a cure will even be found.

So don’t give up hope. You never know what might be just around the bend.

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