Is your child suffering from Crohn’s disease?

by Dr. Sujatha Thyagarajan

While many children end up with frequent tummy upset issues, there has also been an increase in cases of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that the children are being diagnosed with. As parents are becoming more aware of diseases these days, they tend to recognize the problem that their child has been facing and are getting them checked by health professionals. Through this, many cases of IBD are being tracked and traced by health professionals.

Children with IBD get severe belly pain and diarrhea, and other symptoms like blood stools, weight loss and fever. It can even result in the stunted growth of the child. There can be two types of IBD, Crohn’s disease, wherein the bowel wall gets sore and swollen, and the other is ulcerative colitis, where ulcers occur at the lining of the colon.

Many tend to mistake the initial symptoms for stomach infection. However, through early diagnosis and better examination by health professionals, doctors are able to pick up such cases at an early stage. Recently, a nine year old complained of recurrent loose bloodstains over the last 2-3 months, weight loss and abdominal cramps. The doctors performed blood tests and colonoscopy. Upon examination, TB was ruled out and the doctors are suspecting it to be Crohn’s disease in her.

"Children get IBD predominantly following a viral or bacterial infection as a trigger that causes an inflammatory reaction to the intestinal wall", said Dr Sujatha Thyagarajan, Sr. Consultant - Paediatrics, Aster RV Hospital. "Certainly, the awareness for early referral and detailed evaluation has led us, clinicians to pick up IBD in children early. We are seeing children above 9 years, and adolescents where we are diagnosing IBD," she added.

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