Children and young adults who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s disease, indeterminate colitis, or ulcerative colitis require careful and diligent medical management to minimize and prevent flare-ups of symptoms, complications, surgeries, and days spent in the hospital.
IBD is a challenging disease to have because right now there is no cure, and symptoms tend to wax and wane over time. For children especially, this can mean they look “normal” on the surface to their peers, but they may be struggling off and on with abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue that prevent them from participating in the activities they would like to pursue. As a result, IBD can be uncomfortable, discouraging, and socially isolating.
IBD is relatively common, affecting about 1 million Americans; the majority of cases are diagnosed in people less than 30 years old. Here at the pediatric GI program at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, we take care of approximately 500 children and young adults with inflammatory bowel disease.
Helping end a symptomatic flare of IBD and stay in remission can be a process of trial and error, but it is important to get right so children with IBD can live normal and healthy lives. We believe there is always room for improvement, and there’s so much more we want to know about how we can help manage pediatric IBD more effectively.