Pediatric Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition.
This means that you will have to pay attention to and manage
the disease throughout your life.
Some children have
long periods of remission, sometimes years, when they experience
few or no symptoms of the disease. However, the disease will
usually come back at different times during your life.
there is no cure for Crohn’s disease at this time, symptoms
can be well-controlled with proper treatment.
Pedi Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that
- inflammation, or swelling, across the lining of the digestive
Crohn’s disease most often happens in the end of the small
intestine but can happen anywhere along the digestive tract
from mouth to anus.
Crohn’s disease can move along the
digestive tract and can cause inflammation in one area of the
digestive tract, leave the next area disease free and affect
another area further down.
We don’t know exactly what caused you to get Pedi Crohn’s
disease. Research suggests that the cause of Crohn’s
disease is a combination of 3 things
- immune system
but we don’t know how it is that these things work together.
We do know that Pedi IBD can run in families and that about
30% of children with Pedi IBD have a close family member who
also has the disease. We know that Pediatric IBD affects
boys and girls equally and affects about 100,000 children just
To diagnose your Crohn’s disease, you will most likely have
a physical exam and be asked to give a medical history. Your
doctor may also want to have some tests taken to help decide
if you have Pedi Crohn’s disease like
- Lab tests (blood, urine, stool)
- Endoscopic procedures (endoscopy, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy)
- X-rays (Upper/Lower GI series, Abdominal CT Scan)
These tests will also be used to check on how a new treatment
is working and to see if your disease is active or in remission.
Blood tests can be used to look for
- low blood counts such as anemia or low iron levels
- poor nutrient absorption by the intestine
- high white blood cell count showing inflammation
- whether or not a treatment is working
Stool samples can be used to look for
- bacteria that causes inflammation
- blood in the stool
X-rays can be used to
- decide if you have Crohn’s disease
- find where the disease is located in your digestive tract
- show areas of swelling or narrowing of your small intestine
Endoscopy gives the doctor more information
about your digestive tract by using a lighted scope to see
inside areas of your intestine. Endoscopy is thought to be
the best way to get a definite diagnosis.
Symptoms can begin slowly or come on suddenly and get worse
very quickly. Your symptoms can be very different, sometimes
mild and other times serious. Symptoms can usually be well-controlled
with the right treatment.
You can have symptoms like:
- a lot of diarrhea
- stomach pain or cramping
- blood in your stool
- weight loss
- joint, skin or eye irritations
Some complications of Pedi Crohn’s disease are
- Bowel obstruction is a blockage of the
intestine that happens when active disease thickens and swells
the walls of the intestine and reduces the amount of space
for digestive matter to pass through.
- Fistulas are sores, or ulcers, that tunnel
through the affected area into nearby tissues, such as the
bladder, vagina, anus or rectum.
Fistulas can become infected and can be treated with medicine.
In some cases surgery may be needed.
- Fissures are small tears that can happen
in the lining of the mucus membrane of the anus.
- Nutritional deficiencies or lack of age-appropriate
amounts of proteins, calories and vitamins can often be a
serious problem in children with Pedi Crohn’s disease. This
lack of nutrients can happen when children do not get enough
calories every day.
Children with Crohn’s can have other medical problems such
- arthritis or joint problems
- skin problems
- anemia or not enough iron in the blood
- osteoporosis or weak bones
- delayed growth
Some of these problems can get better during treatment for
your Pedi Crohn’s disease and others will need to be treated
Lack of growth or delayed development is
one of the most important health problems for children with
Pedi Crohn’s disease. This is because childhood is a time when
nutrition has the biggest effect on growth.
If you are not able to take in enough calories and nutrients
it will be difficult for your body to grow and develop at a
normal rate. It is very important that the symptoms of this
problem be found early and treated so that your growth can
return to normal.
Treatment of your Pedi Crohn's disease can include
- nutrition supplements
- combination of these
The goals of treatment are to
- control inflammation,
- correct nutritional deficiencies
- relieve and/or control symptoms
Treatment of your Pedi Crohn’s disease can depend on
- where the disease is and how serious it is
- other complications
- whether or not you have responded to other treatments
Symptoms can be well-controlled with proper treatment and
it is very important to make sure that you take the treatments
prescribed by your healthcare provider.
Remember that treatments
work best when they are taken exactly as your doctor explained
to you and on a regular schedule.
Your parents need to know right away if you have any of the
symptoms in this list.
- temperature above 101 degrees F
- stomach pain or cramps that are worse than usual and do
not go away
- more than the usual number bowel movements in a day
- a change in the consistency of your bowel movements
- blood in the bowel movement or a change in the amount of
- new rectal pain
- throwing up for more than 3-4 hours
- vomit that has bile in it (yellow/green color)
- bloated stomach
- tiredness that doesn’t go away
- rashes, especially on the lower legs
- swelling or pain in the joints
- swollen or red eyes
- mouth sores and ulcers
Remember, you know your body. Trust your judgment. If
you are feeling something that you are not sure about or that
makes you feel uncomfortable, let your parents know right away.