Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition that poses unique challenges for children, but with current medical therapies and thorough care, your child can lead a healthy, productive life.
One of two main types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), Crohn’s causes swelling in the lining of the digestive tract, mainly in the small intestine and colon. This can lead to severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, malnutrition, and fatigue. In children, these problems can weaken bones, stunt growth, and delay puberty.
An estimated 80,000 children in the United States suffer from IBD, about half of whom have Crohn’s, says Dinesh Pashankar, MD, director of Yale Medicine’s Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program, which offers specialized treatment for children with Crohn’s disease. The team includes doctors, surgeons, nurses, a social worker and a dietitian, all skilled at treating children with IBD. “We explain to kids—and their parents—what they can expect and meet all of their needs, especially addressing nutrition, growth and psychosocial issues,” Dr. Pashankar says.