Treatment Options for Children with Crohn's Disease
Crohn’s disease is a chronic disease of the digestive system, and children diagnosed with Crohn’s disease often suffer from abdominal pain, malnutrition and discomfort on a daily basis. Even though the disease can appear at any age, approximately 30% of people with Crohn’s disease develop symptoms before the age of 20, according to eMedicineHealth.com. Although there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, some treatments for children can reduce flare-ups and make life more manageable.
If you are taking care of a child with Crohn’s disease, talk to your doctor about the different types of treatment options available. Your child will need a customized treatment plan that helps to improve the functioning of the digestive tract and also ensures that they are absorbing nutrients properly. You can discuss the pros and cons of Crohn’s disease treatment options with your doctor.
Here’s a close look at some of the treatment options available for children with Crohn’s disease:
Medical Treatment for Children with Crohn’s Disease
Medical treatment or children with Crohn’s disease includes prescription medications and surgery. Certain drugs can help to relieve some of the symptoms associated with the disease. Recommended medications include:
- Aminosalicylates – usually a first choice for children because they have few side effects and act as an anti-inflammatory
- Antibiotics – can help children who have severe symptoms in the lower rectum and colon
- Corticosteroids – are effective for reducing inflammation and suppressing the immune system
- Immunomodulators – suppress certain immune responses
- Biologic therapies – using the body’s natural immune system to fight inflammation
- Removal of the affected part of the intestine – usually a last resort when traditional medical therapies have failed
Self-Care Programs for Children with Crohn’s Disease
Children with Crohn’s disease can also reduce the effects of the disease and keep symptoms under control with a self-care program. Self-care treatment at home may include:
- Monitoring the diet. People diagnosed with Crohn’s disease don’t follow a strict diet, but they do need to eliminate or reduce the consumption of certain foods and beverages that tend to trigger inflammation in the body. More information about diet recommendations for people with Crohn’s disease can be found here.
- Staying active. Children who are physically active can maintain strong muscles, joints and bones and may also feel better overall. Children who do not stay active can develop weak bones and may develop osteoporosis if they are using steroids for extended periods of time.
- Regulating nonprescription medication. Over-the-counter medications including pain relievers, cold medication and medication to control diarrhea can produce unwanted side effects, especially in younger children with Crohn’s disease. Make sure you check with your physician before giving your child any type of vitamins, nutritional supplements and over-the-counter medications.
Set up an appointment with a doctor in your area for more information about about managing Crohn’s disease in children. Your doctor can explain some of the most effective treatment options available for your child, and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each so that you can make an informed decision.