Crohn's Disease Treatment | Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment | Lactose Intolerance Treatment | Orange County | Long Beach

Crohn's Disease in Children

Crohn's Disease Treatment | Orange County | Long BeachCrohn's disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly within the lining of the intestine. This condition can cause physical and emotional changes in children and young adults, and requires special treatment to help minimize the severity and frequency of symptoms.

The cause of Crohn's disease is not entirely known, but is believed to be a result of abnormal immune system reactions that mistake food and bacteria for foreign substances. The immune system tries to attack these substances, which leads to a buildup and inflammation in the intestines. Crohn's disease may also enter the body as an infection or from genetic causes.

Children with Crohn's disease may experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Joint pain

These symptoms may come and go as the disease goes through phases of activity and remission.

While there is no cure for Crohn's disease, symptoms can usually be managed through several different treatment options. Treatment for Crohn's disease aims to control the inflammation and keep the disease in remission for as long as possible. This can be done through the use of:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Corticosteroids
  • Immune system suppressants
  • Antibiotics
  • Food and vitamin supplements
  • Surgery

Your child's doctor will examine your child and their medical history to determine which treatment option is best. Since Crohn's disease is a chronic condition, it is important to address the disease on a regular basis with your child to ensure that he/she is as comfortable as possible.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Treatment | Orange County | Long BeachIrritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder in which the bowel does not function correctly and causes discomfort and other symptoms in patients. IBS can affect children and adults of any age, and is common among adolescents.

The exact cause of IBS is not known, but is often attributed to a reaction to certain foods, psychological stress or problems with brain communication to the gastrointestinal tract.

Children with IBS may experience:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Different appearance in the stool
  • Mucus in the stool

Although IBS cannot be cured, there are several treatment options available to help manage the severity and frequency of symptoms related to this condition. Treatment for IBS may include dietary changes, medication and stress management. Certain foods, such as dairy products, fatty foods and carbonated beverages can trigger symptoms of IBS, and should be avoided to help minimize symptoms.

Helping your child cope with this condition and realize that it is not a life-threatening condition can often help relieve anxieties and lessen associated symptoms.

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Lactose Intolerance in Children

Lactose intolerance is a common condition that involves an inability to fully digest milk sugar (lactose) that is found in dairy products. Children with lactose intolerance lack sufficient amounts of lactase, an enzyme that helps break down lactose into glucose and galactose. Although lactose intolerance is not a serious condition, it requires adherence to certain lifestyle changes in order to keep symptoms under control.

This condition may be caused by a digestive disease or injury to the small intestine that reduces the amount of enzymes produced by the organ. Lactose intolerance usually develops gradually over several years. Children with lactose intolerance may experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas

These symptoms usually occur about 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming lactose. Symptoms can be managed by avoiding dairy products or taking lactase enzyme tablets that allow patients to enjoy lactose products with no symptoms.

It is important for children with lactose intolerance to make sure they get enough calcium to ensure healthy development of their bones. Since milk and other dairy products are a major source of calcium for most children, parents should develop several alternative options.



Appendicitis | Orange County | Long BeachAppendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix, a small tube-like organ that is attached to the colon. The inflammation from this condition is cause by a blockage inside the appendix, which causes pressure and problems with blood flow. The blockage is usually caused by feces or an injury to the abdomen. Appendicitis most often affects children between the ages of 11 and 20.

While symptoms may vary with age, children with appendicitis commonly experience:

  • Pain in the lower right area of the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Loss of appetite

Once appendicitis has been diagnosed, it must be treated immediately in order to prevent rupture and infection. Appendicitis is treated through a surgical procedure, called an appendectomy, which removes the appendix. The appendix has no known function in the body, so removal does not cause any harm. Appendectomy can be performed traditionally through a small incision in the abdomen, or laparoscopically through several tiny incisions. This procedure is considered safe, and most children recover from it with no complications.

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Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the intestine and result in abdominal pain and diarrhea. IBD involves ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which affect different areas of the stomach but share many of the same symptoms. Crohn's disease is a chronic condition with no cure, but many cases of ulcerative colitis can be cured by surgically removing the colon.

Ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine and the colon, causing the lining of the intestine to become inflamed and develop ulcers, which are painful, open sores. When ulcerative colitis occurs in the rectal area, it can lead to severe diarrhea. Crohn's disease most often affects the last part of the small intestine and parts of the large intestine, but can occur anywhere along the digestive tract. Instead of just affecting the intestinal walls, Crohn's disease affects the layers much deeper into the walls and causes symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, frequent diarrhea, bloody stool, reduced appetite and weight loss.

IBD is most common between the ages of 15 and 30, although it often affects younger children as well. The cause of these diseases is not yet known, but is believed to be a combination of several factors, including environment, diet and genetics. Your child's doctor may diagnose IBD through a series of tests including blood tests, colonoscopy, upper endoscopy and barium study.

Many cases of IBD can be effectively managed through anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressive agents, which prevent the immune system from attacking the body. Surgery may be required for more severe cases and will depend on your child's individual condition.


Failure to Thrive

While most babies will rapidly gain weight and grow throughout their first few years of life, some do not grow at what is considered to be normal standards. Children that do not grow at an average pace are considered to have "failure to thrive," meaning that they do not receive the nutrients necessary to grow and develop, despite a normal intake of food. Failure to thrive can occur as a result of several different causes, with most involving environmental and social factors such as parental neglect, parental mental health and chaotic family situations.

Failure to thrive is often first detected by your child's physician during a routine appointment, when regular weighing and measuring do not match the normal standards for his or her age. Your child may also be experiencing symptoms such as irritability, fatigue, avoids eye contact and does not make vocal sounds. If this is discovered, a more thorough evaluation will be performed through a complete blood count and urine test, along with various other blood and chemical tests.

Treatment for children with failure to thrive depends on the cause of their condition, as well as the child's age, overall health and medical history. If failure to thrive is caused by another medical condition, treating the underlying condition can often relieve the failure to thrive symptoms as well. Other treatments for this condition may include high-calorie feedings or an individualized treatment plan that works with a nutritionist, occupational and speech therapist, and other specialists such as a cardiologist, neurologist and gastroenterologist.


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