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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Pediatric)

What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is an autoimmune disease that causes the intestine to become inflamed. Many factors, including genes and the environment, contribute to its development.

There are two main types of IBD: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Crohn's disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract but usually centers on the small intestine. It can also spread into the deeper layers of the bowel tissue.

Ulcerative colitis only affects the large intestine (the colon) and the disease is primarily found in the inside lining.

Having a child with this condition can impact every aspect of a family's life.

What are the symptoms of IBD?

  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Urge to stool frequently or urge to stool at night
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Weight loss or poor growth
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained fevers
  • Decreased appetite

How is IBD diagnosed?

During your child's first visit, your doctor will obtain a medical history and conduct a physical examination. Further evaluation may include the following:

  • Blood and stool tests
  • Imaging studies: magnetic resonance enterography (MRE), CT scan, barium X-ray, DEXA scan and/or bone age assessment
  • Endoscopic procedures: upper endoscopy, colonoscopy and/or video capsule endoscopy
  • Biopsy evaluation

What is the treatment for IBD?

Our specialists at the Pediatric IBD Center take a multidisciplinary approach to IBD—a very treatable illness. Your child’s core medical team will include a pediatric gastroenterologist, pediatric nurse practitioner, social worker and nutritionist. This team may grow to include other pediatric sub-specialists at New York’s leading children’s hospital.

Working together, we will tailor treatment to your child’s needs, and implement a family-centered care plan. This will include disease monitoring, nutritional counseling and assessment of your child’s growth. Our nursing and nutrition teams will work closely with you to ensure you are equipped to carry out the plan safely and confidently.

Treatments may include:

  • Medications by mouth
  • Medications that are injected
  • Medications given through an IV: this can be done in our infusion center
  • Nutritional therapy (and in some cases, tube feeding)
  • Surgery

As our patients grow, their medical team evolves. Our transition program includes face-to-face meetings to discuss each child’s treatment plan as they transition to a comprehensive medical team that cares for adults.

Our IBD experts are committed to finding innovative solutions and creating new knowledge to advance the care of children with IBD. We ensure that our patients benefit from these discoveries in a safe and timely manner.

Our IBD Center also provides second opinions if your child has already been evaluated by another doctor.