Recognizing the Signs of Crohn’s Disease in Kids
Crohn’s disease is caused from inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract and is considered an inflammatory bowel disease. The inflammation can penetrate the deepest layers of your bowel tissues causing ulcers and abdominal pain. Although there is no medical cure for Crohn’s disease, there are various therapies available that will bring long-term relief.
It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease in order to address these problems before anything serious occurs. Symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may develop over time, or may arise out of the blue with no warning. Some children may go extended periods of time showing no apparent signs of the disease, or their symptoms are going through remission.
When Crohn’s disease is active, children may experience diarrhea. This is caused from inflammation that irritates cells in the affected areas of your intestine. The infection elicits a response from your body that involves secreting large amounts of salt and water. Because it is difficult for the colon to absorb the extra amounts of salt and water, you develop diarrhea. Intestinal cramping may also occur which can be extremely uncomfortable and contribute to the loosening of stool. Diarrhea is considered the number one occurring symptom of children suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Abdominal pain is another symptom that occurs when coping with Crohn’s disease. Ulceration and inflammation will cause the walls of your bowels to swell. Eventually, the walls with thicken, causing scar tissue. This will indefinitely affect the movement of food through your digestive tract and can cause cramping and abdominal pain. Mild cases of Crohn’s disease will only cause a little intestinal problem whereas more serious cases may induce nausea and vomiting.
When looking for signs of Crohn’s disease, it may be necessary to examine your child’s stool. Often, food that travels through your digestive tract can cause inflamed tissue to blood. The bowels have also been known to bleed. Your child may have bright red blood in their diaper, or in the toilet. It is also possible to have occult bleeding; bleeding that is invisible to the eye.
One of the most painful symptoms of Crohn’s disease is an ulcer. The disease causes small sores to develop on the surface of the intestines, causing large ulcers to form. These ulcers can penetrate through the intestinal wall, causing extreme pain. Ulcers are also likely to form in your child’s mouth.
Due to symptoms of abdominal pain and cramping, many children develop a reduced appetite resulting in weight loss. Because Crohn’s disease affects the digestive tract, your child’s ability to digest and absorb food will also be affected. It is important to make sure your child is not malnourished and to keep track of how much weight they are losing. Other related symptoms can include fever, fatigue, and even arthritis.
It is essential to your child’s health to see a doctor if any of these symptoms occur. Keep an eye out for any changes in their bowel habits and for the symptoms listed above. Although the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, stress and diet could be contributing factors. A doctor will be able to assist you in a proper diagnosis and administer the best remedy for your child.
Sarah Danielson writes for Everyday Health where you can find information about the causes of Crohn’s Disease and get answers to all of your health related questions.