Symptoms & Causes for Crohn’s Disease in Children

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Contact the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

  • 617-355-6058
  • International: +1-617-355-5209
  • Fax: 617-730-0254

What are Crohn’s disease symptoms in children?

While symptoms may affect each child differently, common symptoms include unexplained fevers and diarrhea with or without blood. You may also notice that your child is losing weight and isn’t growing as expected, since pain may make your child not want to eat, and inflammation may prevent her small intestine from absorbing the nutrients her body needs. Other symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain, often in the lower right area
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • rectal bleeding (although this is more often associated with ulcerative colitis)
  • obvious blood in the stools or black, tar-like stools
  • joint pain
  • rashes

Some infections can cause symptoms like these, and it’s important for these to be excluded as possible causes. Crohn’s can be a scary disease for a child to have, and your reassurance and support can go a long way toward making her feel better.

What causes Crohn’s disease in children?

Scientists have not yet discovered the cause of Crohn’s disease, but it’s an area of active research. We believe that both genes and environment play a role. We also know that the immune system is involved, which is why treatment often involves medication to reduce its activity.

Why is Crohn’s disease in children a concern?

Over time, the inflamed intestine may develop narrow areas (strictures) that can make it hard for food to pass through. Also, when the small intestines are inflamed, the inflammation creates scar tissue, which can build up and require the removal of that section of the intestine.

Crohn’s can also sometimes create holes in the intestines that lead to abdominal infections, similar to a ruptured appendix.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944