Crohn’s Disease in Kids
Crohn’s Disease is a form of irritable bowel disease (IBD) in which inflammation occurs in specific areas of the intestine – particularly in the lower portion of the small intestine (ileum) and within the colon. Unlike ulcerative colitis (another form of IBD) which causes inflammation of the entire intestinal wall, Crohn’s disease tends to occur in sporadic areas, leaving some areas of the colon and small intestine unaffected.
Did you know…
that Crohn’s disease is more common in older children and adolescents than it is in children under age 10? Though rare, there are still some children five years and younger who are diagnosed with the disease. In fact, certain immune deficiencies have been known to cause Crohn’s disease in babies. Crohn’s disease can affect any child at any time though approximately 20 percent of children who have the condition also have a family history of the disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of pediatric Crohn’s disease?
Children with Crohn’s disease will often present with chronic abdominal pain and diarrhea. The pain may be mild or severe, and some children may also experience gas and bloating. It is not uncommon for a child’s symptoms to vary over time or for a child to experience periods of remission that can last many months or years between flare-ups.
How will a pediatric gastroenterologist diagnose Crohn’s disease?
A diagnosis of Crohn’s disease often requires many different tests. After evaluating a child’s symptoms, a physician may use blood tests, stool tests, endoscopy or colonoscopy to confirm a diagnosis and also monitor the progression of the disease over time.
What treatments are available for pediatric Crohn’s Disease?
It is important to properly manage Crohn’s disease in children, as failure to do so can lead to serious complications, such as anemia and delayed onset of puberty. Since Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition, most children with the condition will need to manage it for life. A combination of medications, lifestyle modifications, and nutritional support can help provide your child with the care he or she needs to minimize symptoms and flare-ups. In some cases, children with Crohn’s disease require surgical intervention to alleviate the effects of the disease.