Crohn’s Disease is a form of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which inflammation can occur in any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike Ulcerative Colitis (another form of IBD) which causes continuous inflammation in the colon. Crohn’s disease tends to occur in sporadic areas, leaving some areas of the colon and small intestine unaffected.
Did you know…
that Crohn’s disease is more common in older children and adolescents than it is in children under age 10? Though rare, there are still some children five years and younger who are diagnosed with the disease. In fact, certain immune deficiencies have been known to cause Crohn’s disease in younger children. Crohn’s disease can affect any child at any time, though approximately 20 percent of children who have the condition also have a family history of IBD.
Children with Crohn’s disease will often present with chronic abdominal pain and diarrhea. The pain may be mild or severe, and some children may also experience gas and bloating. It is not uncommon for a child’s symptoms to vary over time or for a child to experience periods of remission that can last many months or years between flare-ups.
A diagnosis of Crohn’s disease often requires many different tests. After evaluating a child’s symptoms, a physician may use blood tests, stool tests, endoscopy and/or colonoscopy to confirm a diagnosis and also monitor progression or response of the disease over time.
It is important to properly manage Crohn’s disease in children, as failure to do so can lead to serious complications, such as anemia and delayed growth, development or onset of puberty. Since Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition, most children with the condition will need to manage it for life. A combination of medications, lifestyle modifications and nutritional support can help provide your child with the care he or she needs to minimize symptoms and flare-ups. In some cases, children with Crohn’s disease require surgical intervention to alleviate the effects of the disease.