Improving care for children with inflammatory bowel disease

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital IBD TeamChildren 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.

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IBD and College: Do the two play nicely?

Inflammatory bowel disease and collegeCollege students across the country are well into their second semester, bunkered into dorms and libraries and riding out the winter weather. Hopefully, especially for those first-year students, the challenges of navigating school and managing priorities seem a little less daunting. After all, adjusting well to college life is critical for success in school and is closely tied to graduation rates. So, it should come as no surprise when I say that successful college adjustment has lifelong implications for career opportunities, earning potential and future successes.

While this transition is difficult for all students, students with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) — like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis — can attest to added challenges, such as maintaining their treatment regimen, avoiding common infections, and adjusting to shared bathrooms.

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Is Miralax safe for kids?

Is Miralax safe for children?A recent New York Times article about the safety of Miralax and similar generic products used to treat children with constipation has struck an alarming chord with many parents.

Miralax and its generic equivalents are one of our first-line-of-defense tools for managing chronic, severe constipation. The ingredient called into question is polyethylene glycol 3350, or PEG 3350. There has been a tremendous amount of investigation into the safety of PEG 3350. In fact, it’s probably one of the most thoroughly studied molecules in our field. The available research provides a strong justification for PEG 3350 as a treatment for childhood constipation, considering both the safety and efficacy of this molecule relative to other medicines sometimes prescribed for severe constipation.

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