Crohn's Disease | Testing & Treatments

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Contact the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

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

What types of Crohn’s disease tests are available for children?

Many patients come to our IBD Center for second opinions or upon referral from a pediatrician. In many cases, we will confirm the diagnosis and investigate how Crohn’s affects a child before meeting to discuss our treatment recommendations.

Tests we commonly recommend may include one or more of the following:

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

After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about a child's condition. Then we discuss the results with the family and outline the best treatment options.

Treatments for Crohn’s disease in children

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

Treatment plans will include:

  • Medication:

    Drug therapy is the gold standard treatment for Crohn’s. 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:

    • All of our patients have the option to meet with our clinic’s 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.

In addition to the child’s primary gastroenterologist, he or she may meet with members of our IBD team including:

  • a nurse specialist
  • a social worker
  • a nurse educator
  • a psychologist
  • a dietition


Managing IBD flare-ups

Flare-ups are when a child again begins to experience symptoms of IBD, or feeling especially tired and unwell. If this happens, it's a good idea to check with your child's primary care doctor, who can refer you to us at Boston Children's if need be. Read more about managing IBD Flares.

Surgery for Crohn’s disease

While we almost always start treatment for IBD with medication, 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.

Follow-up treatments for Crohn’s disease

Lifelong follow-up is crucial with IBD, since it allows your child's doctors to:

  • make sure the medication is working
  • check for side effects of the medication
  • monitor your child for appropriate levels of growth
  • use blood tests to make sure your child's blood chemistry is as it should be
  • perform bone scans to monitor bone density and prevent bone weakening
  • administer eye exams

Follow-up treatments depend on the child, the treatment plan and how he or she is feeling. Based on these factors, your child’s doctor may want to see you more or less frequently.

Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337