IBD Treatment

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Contact the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

  • 1-617-355-6058
  • International: +01-617-355-5209

At the Boston Children’s IBD Center, the underlying principle to our approach to treatment is simple: We believe in managing medical, emotional and social needs to truly manage the affects of IBD.

Multidisciplinary, Team Approach to IBD Care

Expert treatment for a chronic conditions starts with recognizing all the ways it can impact daily life – especially for a child, teenager or young adult.

That’s why our specialized team includes medical experts – gastroenterologists, radiologists and surgeons – as well as a registered dietician, social worker and nurse educator, all specially trained in IBD. Meet our IBD team.

Our approach to care involves:

  • Controlling symptoms with a customized drug therapy program to provide relief as soon as possible
  • Crafting a personalized treatment plan for ongoing management and routine follow up, based on every patient’s unique needs
  • Developing customized dietary recommendations to maintain good health, restore growth and control symptoms
  • Providing complete support for emotional and social needs – at school, preparing for college or work, or with relationships. Read more about transitional care at our clinic

IBD Consults at Boston Children’s

Local and regional patients who can travel to our Boston clinic for ongoing care benefit from this full spectrum of services. However, we routinely offer on-line second opinions and annual visits to national and international patients. We are also available to consult on treatment plans in conjunction with local physicians.

Families residing outside of the United States should first contact the Boston Children’s International Health Services at 01-617-355-5209.

Comprehensive Medical Management for IBD

Drug therapy is the gold standard treatment for both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – both in adults and children.

Our IBD specialists have access to the newest drugs and therapies available today, as well as the expertise to know which work best with a young person’s developing body and overall health needs.

Most of the time, children and teens experience severe symptoms when first diagnosed. In these cases, the first thing we will do is get these symptoms under control as quickly as possible.

  1. Control: We give you or your child a short course of very powerful medications (typically steroids) known as induction agents. Most patients begin to feel better in anywhere from a few days to a week or two.
  2. Maintenance medicine: Once symptoms have subsided, we start a regular course of medicine. It may take a while to figure out which medications work the best. Anti-inflammatory medications help with abdominal pain and diarrhea, and in more severe cases, we may prescribe more steroids, antibiotics, or drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants).
  3. Rescue medicines: If you or your child experiences a flare-up, we'll treat it with a short course of strong medications. Download our guide to Signs of a Disease Flare  to learn how to recognize one.

Nutritional Therapy for IBD

There are many foods that can worsen or trigger symptoms – from raw vegetables to dairy products. Guidance from our registered dietician can help you understand what foods to avoid.

IBD does more than cause pain and discomfort; at its worst, it can prevent people from absorbing necessary nutrients from food. That’s why it is so important to maintain a healthy diet.

Our registered dietician will work with you to develop a customized diet plan – taking into account personal health needs and specific medications, some of which can affect appetite and how the body absorbs nutrients.

Follow-up Care for IBD: What to Expect

Individual follow-up routines depend on each patient’s treatment plan and how they are feeling.

  • If you or your child is doing very well and experiencing few to no symptoms, your doctor may want to see you every six months.
  • If you or your child is on immunosuppressant medications, there's a higher risk of complications, and we may want to see you every three months.
  • If you or your child is not feeling well, you should come in every four weeks or so.

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

  • Make sure medication is working
  • Check for side effects of the medication
  • Monitor you or your child for appropriate levels of growth
  • Use blood tests to make sure blood chemistry is as it should be
  • Conduct bone scans (to monitor bone density and prevent bone weakening) and eye exams

IBD Surgery at Boston Children’s

Treatment for IBD always starts with medication. Sometimes, a patient may not respond – or stop responding to – several drug options, causing symptoms to worsen and putting him or her at risk for serious complications. In these cases, surgery may help you or your child feel better and minimize damage to the intestine.

The decision to have surgery is a joint one, made with the patient, family members, your gastroenterologist and the surgeon. Learn more about IBD surgery at Boston Children’s.

Make an Appointment

For more information, appointments or a second opinion, please call the Boston Children’s IBD Center at 617-355-6058 or request an appointment online.

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