Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Children

  • What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in children?

    It can be very scary if your child is having recurring bouts of abdominal pain, cramping, blood in the stools and diarrhea that don’t seem to go away. These symptoms may indicate a condition called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), in which parts of the intestinal tract become inflamed. The good news is that once diagnosed, most children with IBD respond quite well to treatment.

    Consider these facts about inflammatory bowel disease in kids:

    ●    IBD may be mild, severe or anywhere in between.
    ●    It’s quite common: IBD affects around 1.4 million Americans, including around 80,000–140,000 children and young adults.
    ●    While many people confuse IBD with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), they’re very different conditions.
    ●    IBD is most often treated with medications and sometimes surgery.
    ●    While a cure has not yet been found, regular medications and visits to the doctor can help the vast majority of children with IBD feel better and resume many of their regular activities.

    What are some types of IBD in children?

    The two main forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). Around one out of 10 children have what’s called “indeterminate colitis,” which means that the doctor can’t definitively state whether the IBD is Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Over time, many of these cases are eventually diagnosed as one or the other.

    How does Boston Children's Hospital approach IBD in kids?

    Children and teenagers with inflammatory bowel disease have a wide variety of needs that may include medication management, help changing their diet, growth and development monitoring, surgical care, and psychological support.  Boston Children’s Hospital is the #1 ranked pediatric gastroenterology division in U.S. News & World Report, 2014-15), which includes a dedicated team of doctors and specialists in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center.  Our world class care team can help patients and their parents by providing individualized treatment plans and access to more specialized care than any other hospital.  Our team includes:

    • Dieticians who work tirelessly to get kids on a balanced diet that works for them
    • Social Workers who support children in every aspect of their lives, including managing IBD at school, working through social issues, and applying for state aid if applicable
    • Psychologists who help children work out any signs of depression or anxiety
    • Nurse Practitioners who help manage medications, recognize flare-ups and know exactly how to react when flare-ups occur

    We care for patients in Boston and in several 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.

    Contact Us to Make an Appointment:

    Contact the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center to make an appointment for your child: 617-355-6058
    International: +1-617-355-5209

    Additional Locations

    Boston Children's Inflammatory Bowel Disease is centrally located at Boston Children's Hospital main campus, but many of our physicians see patients throughout Massachusetts. For a complete list of our locations, please click here.

    Related Resources

    Cell therapy for early-onset inflammatory bowel disease?

    5 tips for heading off to college with IBD

    6 tips for a new school year—with inflammatory bowel disease?

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Contact the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

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