Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) handbook

IBD has become increasingly common around the world. Crohn's disease (CD), in particular is now seen much more frequently. 

As well as becoming more frequent, IBD is now occurring more commonly in younger children.

In children, adolescence is the most common time when the symptoms of IBD can begin. However, IBD can begin at any age.

Children with IBD can have a wide range of symptoms before diagnosis. The most common symptoms in children with CD are abdominal pain, diarrhoea and weight loss. The most common symptoms in children diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC), however, are diarrhoea with blood.

Children can have a number of other symptoms before diagnosis. These include losing weight, not getting taller, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloody diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, rashes, sore joints, lethargy, anaemia, iron deficiency and others.

One of the important aspects of IBD in children and adolescents is the potential impact of the bowel problems upon growth, nutrition and puberty development. 

Doctors treat IBD with medicines to reduce inflammation and help prevent infection. It is important for people with IBD to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of fluids. 

IBD is treated with medicines, changes in diet, and sometimes surgery. The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms, prevent other problems and manage flare-ups. 

Last updated Monday 5th February 2024