Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic digestive condition that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. If your child is living with IBD, you may be worried about how the difficult symptoms and dietary restrictions will impact their school, social life, growth, and development. For children with IBD, early and accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and long-term management can be life-changing. At NewYork-Presbyterian, we provide comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for children of all ages with IBD. While there is currently no cure for IBD, our multidisciplinary team helps you and your child through every phase of care to give them the best chance to lead a normal productive life.
About Our Program
NewYork-Presbyterian has two pediatric centers devoted to caring for children with IBD: the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center’s Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center, located at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, and the NewYork-Presbyterian & Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Advanced Digestive Care (CADC), located at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital. At both centers, your child receives multidisciplinary care by a medical team that includes a pediatric gastroenterologist, pediatric nurse practitioner, social worker, and nutritionist. When necessary, the team may expand to include other specialists with IBD expertise, such as a pediatric surgeon, colorectal surgeon, dermatologist, ophthalmologist, rheumatologist, endocrinologist, immunologist, and geneticist.
Every child is unique, and therefore treatment for IBD must be individualized. Treatment may include nutritional therapy, medication, and surgery. Your child’s treatment plan will evolve as your child grows.
Our pediatric specialists are known for their expertise with the most complex cases of IBD. When surgery is necessary, we offer the unparalleled expertise of our pediatric surgical team to provide the best possible outcome for your child. We work closely with you and your child to understand all of the issues involved before we make treatment recommendations. Careful monitoring helps us tailor treatment to your child’s needs.
Adolescents with IBD face unique challenges that may hamper the successful transition from pediatric to adult health care. Not only are they coping with age-related issues concerning body image and self-consciousness, but they also experience symptoms of their IBD that can arise without warning. This may cause anxiety, stress, embarrassment, feelings of helplessness, and occasionally, depression. The NewYork-Presbyterian Pediatric IBD Transition Program takes a multidisciplinary approach to enlist the expertise of pediatric gastroenterologists, adult gastroenterologists, nutritionists, psychologists, and social workers to optimize care during this transition period. We collaborate to provide patients with knowledge, self-reliance, and self-management strategies that will prepare them for a successful transition to an equally comprehensive medical team at NewYork-Presbyterian’s adult IBD Center.
What is IBD
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune disorder that causes the intestine to become inflamed, leading to uncomfortable symptoms. In some patients, this may impact the proper intake and even absorption of nutrients. Many factors, including genes and the environment, contribute to its development. There are two general categories of IBD:
- Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract (small and large intestine) but almost always includes the small intestine. It can generally involve the deeper layers of the bowel wall.
- Ulcerative colitis only affects the large intestine (the colon). In the pediatric population, it tends to involve the entire colon.
Children with IBD generally experience periods of symptoms followed by periods of remission, with no symptoms. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and maintain remission.
There is currently no cure for IBD but with early treatment and long-term management, children with IBD can live full and active lives.
Symptoms of IBD
Symptoms of IBD vary depending on the child and how long he or she has had the condition. Symptoms may include:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Blood in the stool
- Urge to stool frequency or urge to stool at night
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Weight loss or poor growth
- Unexplained fevers
- Decreased appetite
Very Early Onset IBD
When children are diagnosed with IBD at a very young age (less than 5 years old), it is called very early onset IBD, or VEO-IBD. Symptoms may be more severe in children with VEO-IBD and may not respond to standard treatments. VEO-IBD, especially that occurring in the first year of two of life may be more likely to have a genetic cause and may require sophisticated blood testing to clarify the diagnosis and treatment.
Why Choose Us
Nationally Ranked Children’s Hospitals
Both NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital are among the nation's leading centers for the diagnosis and treatment of childhood digestive diseases. They are both major referral centers for complex and rare digestive disorders in infants, children, and adolescents.
State-of-the-Art Endoscopic Services
Endoscopy is a key component in the diagnosis and treatment of IBD. At the NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital Laura Rothenberg Bronchoscopy and Endoscopy Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital, pediatric gastroenterologists perform hundreds of advanced endoscopic procedures a year, including upper endoscopy, colonoscopy, and video capsule endoscopy.
Care for the Most Complex Cases
Our pediatric specialists are known for their expertise with the most complex cases of IBD. When surgery is necessary, we offer the unparalleled expertise of our pediatric surgical team to provide the best possible outcome for your child.
Expertise in Nutritional Therapy
Our team has deep expertise with nutritional therapies for IBD and an understanding of the challenges they pose for children, adolescents, and their families.
Pushing the Boundaries of Care with Research
Knowledge about IBD is evolving. Our IBD experts are committed to research that advances the care of children with IBD. We participate in clinical trials and can sometimes offer medications not found anywhere else. We also work collaboratively with our basic science researchers to discover what drives the inflammatory process in children.
Access to World-Class Pediatric Specialists
Your child's healthcare team has access to all of the various pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists who practice at NewYork-Presbyterian, ensuring that all of your child's medical needs can be addressed.