Crohn's Disease

Also known as: Crohn's disease, Crohn disease, ileitis, regional enteritis.

What is Crohn's disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes the intestine anywhere from mouth to anus (though usually affects the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum and large bowel - the colon) to become inflamed, and/or ulcerated, causing it to lose its ability to absorb digested foods (malabsorption).

The inflammation can also result in abnormal passageways between parts of the bowel (fistulas), and scar tissue (strictures) which may cause blockage of the bowel.

What causes Crohn's disease?

Crohn's disease appears to be caused by a combination of a environmental, immune and bacterial factors in a genetically susceptible child.

What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?

The commonest symptoms are cramping pain in the abdomen and diarrhoea which may be mild to severe.

Symptoms can come and go over time. Other symptoms include fever, rectal bleeding, and weight loss and / or failure to grow.

Other complications may include anemia, skin rashes and inflammation of other parts of the body. As a chronic disease, children might develop not only the physical problems of the disease but also suffer from emotional, social, and family problems too.

What are Crohn's disease care options?

There is no cure for Crohn's disease. and management requires a team of pediatric subspecialists to address the multitude of issues that arise. Lifestyle changes, medications, addressing mental health issues and surgery all may be utilized to optimize care.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: February 17, 2021 12:13 PM

Pediatric Gastroenterology

The Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is dedicated to the treatment of a wide variety of gastrointestinal problems in infants, children and adolescents with a multidisciplinary approach.

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Patient Success Stories

Patient of the Month: Graciela

After experiencing sudden weight loss and stomach pains, Graciela was taken to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. In reviewing tests and images of Graciela's digestive tract, doctors found ten ulcers and determined a diagnosis, Crohn's disease.

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