What is Crohn's and Colitis

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) are autoimmune diseases that cause inflammation in the digestive tract.

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and ulceration of the innermost lining of the large intestine, Crohn’s disease is a form of IBD that can cause inflammation in any part of the entire digestive tract. The symptoms are frequent, urgent, and sometimes bloody bowel movements, and abdominal cramps. Fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, night sweats and joint pain are also common occurrences. 

2 million Americans have IBD, but that number is on the rise.  The disease can appear at any age but is most common before the age of 30.  However, the incidence of IBD among children under the age of 15 is on the rise, and even children under the age of 8, once a rarity, are increasingly being diagnosed.

Children with IBD often miss a lot of school. Symptoms can include painful cramps, frequent diarrhea, and vomiting which can make it hard to sit through classes. Because of these symptoms, getting the nourishment they need can be very difficult. Hospitalization for IV fluids, and also supplemental nightly tube feeding may also be necessary.

Many people may have heard of these digestive diseases but may not realize how serious, difficult and life altering these chronic illnesses are.  This is not an upset stomach or irritable bowel syndrome. Crohn’s and Colitis profoundly impact the quality of a person’s life, and the diseases can be especially aggressive in children causing stomach pain, growth failure, joint pain, rashes and countless doctor visits. Unfortunately we don’t know what causes these diseases so we don’t have a cure.

Many patients do not respond or lose response to the common IBD medications. Current research is focusing on the interplay between, genes, bacteria and environmental factors in order to tailor treatments to an individuals needs. 

Did you know?


Overuse of antibiotics in young children has been shown to increase the risk of developing IBD.


Up to one third of people with Ulcerative Colitis will require removal of their colon.

About 70% of people with Crohn’s Disease eventually will require some kind of surgery to remove a particularly diseased area of the intestines.

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