Crohn’s Disease | Diagnosis & Treatments

How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed in children?

There isn’t just one test for Crohn’s disease. Your child’s doctor will most likely recommend a combination of tests to diagnose Crohn’s disease, including:

  • blood tests
  • stool sample tests
  • endoscopy
  • colonoscopy
  • biopsy
  • imaging studies
Christopher playing soccer. He was treated for Crohn’s disease and is symptom free.

What is the treatment for Crohn’s disease in children?

At Boston Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, our team of specialists develops a personalized treatment plan for every patient, based on factors such as specific symptoms, health needs, age and the severity of Crohn’s disease.

Treatment of Crohn’s disease may include:

Medication

Drug therapy is the gold standard treatment for Crohn’s disease in children. It can reduce inflammation, control symptoms and allow the body to properly absorb nutrients again. Crohn’s disease medications can include:

  • anti-inflammatory drugs to bring the disease under control
  • immune system suppressants that can reduce the swelling that causes Crohn’s
  • antibiotics to treat related complications, such as abscesses or fistulas
  • antiulcer/H2 blockers (acid-reducing medications) to treat related ulcers and irritation
  • disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to slow or halt the underlying causes of inflammation

Nutrition support

Your child will have the option to meet with a registered dietitian who specializes in working with children and teens with IBD and can develop an eating plan to help control symptoms of Crohn’s disease and improve overall health.

Surgery for Crohn’s disease

Sometimes a child may not respond (or stop responding) to Crohn’s disease medications and may be a good candidate for surgery — a procedure that removes a section of the intestine. The decision to have surgery is a joint one, made between your child, your family, your child's gastroenterologist and the surgeon.

It's important to remember that with Crohn's disease, surgery is rarely a cure, since inflammation may recur in other locations throughout the digestive tract. The purpose of surgery is to keep your child feeling well and to minimize the damage done to the intestine.