Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Managing Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and IBD in Children

Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a chronic inflammatory process of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and affects up 250,000 children and adolescents across the U.S.

IBD is an umbrella term and includes Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and IBD-unclassified.

  • Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere in the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus.
  • Ulcerative colitis is when inflammation is limited to only the large intestine, or colon.
  • IBD-unclassified is when it is not clear if a child has Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, as there can be overlapping features at times.

IBD Clinic

The care of our pediatric IBD patients extends beyond routine medical visits to manage symptoms and medications. Having IBD means not only inflammation or issues in the GI tract, but parts of the body outside of the GI tract can also be affected.

Keeping up with your child’s medical history can be overwhelming, and regular visits to the IBD Clinic at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital help coordinate these efforts as we work to maintain a comprehensive, up-to-date medical summary for each and every one of our patients.

For example, it is important to see an ophthalmologist every one to two years to look for inflammation in the back of the eye. Also, a bone mineral scan should be done at diagnosis for every IBD patient and a yearly flu shot is a vital part of ongoing care.

IBD Transition Clinic

In addition, the yearly IBD Clinic visit involves self-management education for all patients over 11 years of age to begin the process of teaching our patients how to become independent with their care. This leads up to the eventual transition to adult GI care, which is handled by our IBD transition team when the time is right. This transition clinic is a collaboration with the adult GI team at UH Digestive Health Institute.

Nutritional Therapy for IBD

The IBD program offers enteral, or nutritional therapy, as an alternative to using steroids to control Crohn’s disease. By using nutritional shakes by themselves, or with a small amount of real food, we are able to control the inflammation from Crohn’s disease as effectively as with steroids. In addition, we are able to address growth and nutritional deficiencies that are commonly present when a child or adolescent is first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

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