Inflammatory bowel disease is like asthma. If you have asthma, you have it for your whole life, but that doesn't mean that you're wheezing every day. The same is true with this bowel problem. You'll have flare-ups, and then periods of remission where you'll feel fine. And that's my job: to make sure that you're feeling fine as long as possible.
- Athos Bousvaros, MD, MPH, associate director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program
It can be very scary if your child is having recurring bouts of abdominal pain, blood in the stools, and diarrhea that don’t seem to go away. These symptoms may indicate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). With IBD, parts of the intestinal tract become inflamed and may cause cramping, pain, bleeding and diarrhea. The good news is that once diagnosed, most children with IBD respond quite well to treatment.
Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are the two main forms of IBD. If your child has Crohn’s disease, it means that one or more areas of her intestinal tract are inflamed. It’s a chronic - but highly manageable - disease.
- Crohn’s disease may be mild, severe or anywhere in between.
- It can affect any region of the digestive tract, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, appendix, colon or anus. The most common area involved is the last part of the small intestine (terminal ileum) and the first part of the large intestine.
- Crohn’s is most often diagnosed in young adults, but can be seen in children as young as 7.
- It can often be controlled very well with medication and lifestyle changes, and surgery may also be an option.
Watch Growing up with Crohn’s Disease –What Every Family Should Know, a series of short videos to learn more about Crohn’s disease.
How Boston Children's Hospital approaches Crohn’s disease
Children and teenagers with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis have a wide variety of needs that may include management of medications; nutritional counseling; monitoring of growth and development; surgical care and psychological support. Here at Children’s Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatment and Research, we are dedicated to the health and well-being of children with IBD. We care for patients in Boston and in six satellite locations.
As a leading referral center for pediatric IBD, our Center is committed to discovering the causes of, and improving the treatments for, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
|The Experience Journal|
|The Experience Journal is an online collection of thoughts, reflections and advice from kids, parents and other caregivers about what it has been like to live with pediatric IBD.|
|Transitioning from pediatric to adult care|
|More than 9 million children in the United States are living with a chronic illness. Every year, 500,000 of these children turn 18. As they join their fellow adolescents in struggling to achieve optimal independence, they also face a serious issue they may not be prepared for: the transition of their medical care. Read Children’s tips for helping kids – and their families – make this key transition.|
Crohn's disease: Reviewed by Athos Bousvaros, MD, MPH
© Children’s Hospital Boston, 2011