Crohn’s Disease in Children | Diagnosis and Treatment

How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed in children?

There isn’t just one test to diagnosis Crohn’s disease. Your child’s doctor will most likely recommend a combination of tests to diagnosis Crohn’s disease, including:

  • blood tests
  • stool sample tests
  • endoscopy
  • colonoscopy
  • biopsy
  • imaging studies

Christopher playing soccer. He was treated for Crohn’s disease and is symptom free.

What are the treatment options for Crohn’s disease in children?

At the Boston Children’s IBD Center, our team of specialists develops a personalized treatment plan for every patient, based on factors such as unique symptoms, health needs, age and the severity of Crohn’s disease.

Treatment plans may include:

Medication

Drug therapy is the gold standard treatment for Crohn’s disease in children. It can reduce inflammation, control symptoms and allow the body to properly absorb nutrients again. Medical management may involve:

  • anti-inflammatory drugs to bring the disease under control
  • immune system suppressants that can reduce the swelling that causes Crohn’s
  • antibiotics to treat related complications, such as abscesses or fistulas
  • antiulcer/H2 blockers (acid-reducing medications) to treat related ulcers and irritation
  • disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to slow or halt the underlying causes of inflammation

Nutrition support

Your child will have the option to meet with a registered dietician, who specializes in working with children and teens with IBD and can develop an eating plan to help control symptoms and restore health.

Surgery for Crohn’s disease

Sometimes a child may not respond (or stop responding) to medications and be a good candidate for surgery — a procedure that removes a section of the intestine. The decision to have surgery is a joint one, made between your child, your family, your child's gastroenterologist and the surgeon.

It's important to remember that with Crohn's disease, surgery is rarely a cure, since inflammation may recur in other locations throughout the digestive tract. The purpose of surgery is to keep your child feeling well and to minimize the damage done to the intestine.