What you need to know about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Crohn’s in children.
If your child has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, you most likely (and understandably) have many questions and concerns. To help you navigate through this disease, it’s important to know what, exactly, this autoimmune disorder is. Crohn’s disease (also known as regional enteritis) is an inflammatory bowel disease that can potentially affect the entire GI tract, from the mouth to the anal opening. Fortunately, this is a pretty uncommon condition. The chance of finding a patient with Crohn’s disease is about 1 in 5,000, and of this number, approximately 20 percent are children.
The most commonly affected sites include the end of the small intestines (ileum) and the beginning of the large intestine (cecum). Ileo-cecal Crohn’s disease affects 50 to 60 percent of patients, isolated ileal disease is seen in 30 percent of patients and colonic disease (affecting the large intestine) is seen in 20 percent of patients. Crohn’s disease occurs in patients who may have an underlying genetic susceptibility – most commonly due to subtle variations in specific genes. We have a better idea of these genetic variations now; however, having a genetic tendency does not confer an absolute risk to develop Crohn’s disease. Rather, it actually increases the risk.
Symptoms to Look Out For
If your child is complaining of prolonged episodes of intermittent abdominal pain, along with diarrhea, this could be a sign of the autoimmune disorder. Many children suffer from weight loss due to poor nutritional intake, inflammation or malabsorption of nutrients. Abnormal skin tags in the bottom area and anal fissures are also symptoms of the disease; however, the most common cause of an anal fissure is due to constipation. Occasionally, patients develop abscesses around the anal opening. These abscesses are due to fistulas – abnormal communication from the bowel to the outside. Although rare, patients can also develop strictures (narrowing of bowel) leading to bowel obstruction or abscesses inside their belly.
Read Full Article: Crohn’s Disease in Children – US News