By: Roy Nattiv, M.D., co-medical director, Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program, MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach
Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which include Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, affect as many as 1.6 million Americans, most of whom are diagnosed before 35, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.
IBD is a chronic, lifelong condition that can permanently damage the gastrointestinal tract if not treated. However, if identified early, young children with IBD can live normal, healthy lives.
Because IBD symptoms are often similar to symptoms caused by other gastrointestinal conditions, it’s important that parents request a medical evaluation by a pediatric gastroenterologist if their child is experiencing gastrointestinal distress.
At MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, a specialized Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program, part of the Gastroenterology & Nutrition Center, is uniquely equipped to diagnose and treat kids with IBD.
The IBD care team includes multi-disciplinary pediatric experts in gastroenterology, surgery and radiology, as well as nurses, registered dietitians, psychologists, social workers, and pharmacists, who understand children’s specific medical, social and emotional needs.
Additionally, patients have access to a wide range of research protocols available through ImproveCareNow™, which is a collaborative community where patients, parents, clinicians and researchers work together to improve the health and care of children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Identifying IBD in Your Child
The initial symptoms of IBD may be weight loss or delayed growth. In fact, 80 to 90 percent of children with Crohn’s disease experience weight loss.
Other symptoms range from mild to severe and life-threatening, including any or all of the following:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Rectal bleeding
- Intermittent fever
- Inflammation of joints (arthritic-like symptoms)
- Inflammation of skin or eyes
- Skin nodules and ulcers
If you notice any of these persistent symptoms in your child, talk to your child’s pediatrician about a consultation with a pediatric gastroenterologist at Miller Children’s & Women’s.
Learn more at millerchildrens.org/GI.
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