Crohn's disease is a form of long-term, chronic illness, where the bowel or intestine becomes inflamed and often ulcerated, as well as marked with various sores. Alongside problems such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease is one of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn's commonly impacts the lower part of the small intestine, which is known as the ileum. It can also occur in any part of the large intestine, esophagus, or stomach. For some people, it can even take place within the mouth.
Crohn's disease can happen at any age. It's most common though in people who are between the ages of 15 and 30. Teens and children with Crohn's disease generally face a range of unique challenges in comparison to adults who suffer from the same condition. The reason for this is that the presence of Crohn's disease can lead to stunted growth, delayed puberty, and weakened bones.
What Are Symptoms of Crohn's Disease in Kids?
The symptoms of Crohn's disease in kids are likely to differ depending on where the disease takes place within the bowel. They can also depend on the severity of the disease itself. In general, symptoms can also include chronic diarrhea, weight loss, rectal bleeding, fever, abdominal tenderness, and feeling of fullness or mass within the lower portion of the right abdomen.
Teens and children suffering from Crohn's disease have periods of severe symptoms that are followed by periods of no symptoms at all. The period with no symptoms is often called remission, and it can last for years or weeks. It is difficult to determine when a remission will take place or if symptoms will return. Other symptoms may also develop, depending on complications that are related to the disease. For instance, people who suffer from a fistula, or an abnormal passageway associated with Crohn's in the rectal area may have discharge and pain around the rectum. Other complications associated with Crohn's disease might include:
– Liver disease
– Ulcers or skin rashes
How Does Crohn's Affect the Bowel for Kids?
As with any person suffering from this specific disease, the symptoms of Crohn's disease in kids often involve problems with the bowel. The bowel tissue might:
– Thicken, swell, or form scar tissue that leads to a blockage within the bowel itself.
– Develop ulcers deep within the layers of the bowel wall
– Lose its ability to absorb nutrients from digested foods, especially in the ileum where vitamin B12 and bile acids are absorbed
– Develop abnormal passageways from one part of the bowel to another
Currently, the cause of Crohn's disease in teens and young children is not yet known. In fact, it's difficult to determine why this problem even takes place in adults. It is likely that Crohn's disease is a type of inherited disease that prompts unusual responses within the gastrointestinal tract and immune system. People who have a relative with this disease are often more likely to develop the disease themselves, and there are a range of other risk factors that can make it more likely for you to suffer from this condition.