Inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease can have periods when you feel sick (flareups), and periods when you feel normal (remission). The job of our team is to keep flareups as short as possible and remissions as long as possible, so children can lead normal healthy lives
Athos Bousvaros, MD, MPH, associate director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program
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.
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.
- IBD may be mild, severe or anywhere in between.
- It’s quite common: IBD affects around 1.4 million Americans, including around 80,000–100,000 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, with regular medications and visits to the doctor, the vast majority of children with IBD lead normal, happy lives.
How Boston Children's Hospital approaches IBD
Children and teenagers with inflammatory bowel disease have a wide variety of needs that may include management of medications; nutritional counseling; monitoring of growth and development; surgical care and psychological support. Here at Children’s Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Treatment and Research, we’re dedicated to the health and well-being of children with IBD. We care for patients in Boston and in six 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.
|The Experience Journal|
|The Experience Journal is an online collection of thoughts, reflections and advice from kids, parents and other caregivers about what it's like to live with pediatric IBD.|
Inflammatory bowel disease: Reviewed by Athos Bousvaros, MD, MPH
© Children’s Hospital Boston, 2011