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More Children Are Being Hospitalized With Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD refers to a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine.

The Journal of Investigative Medicine reports an upward occurrence of children in the US being hospitalized for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

IBD refers to a group of inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. IBD is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a troublesome but much less serious condition.

The two major types of IBD are Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC).

Crohn’s disease affects the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus, causing a wide variety of symptoms, which include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. There are also a host of related complications outside the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes and arthritis.

Crohn’s disease is caused by environmental, immunological, and bacterial factors in genetically susceptible individuals, resulting in a chronic inflammatory disorder.

Ulcerative colitis is a disease of the colon (large intestine) that presents with characteristic ulcers (open sores). The main symptom of UC is constant hemorrhagic diarrhea, which requires treatment for remission with anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppression.

The condition has no known cause, but it is presumed there is a genetic component to susceptibility.

Colectomy – a partial removal of the large bowel through surgery – is necessary if the disease is severe and doesn’t respond well to treatment or if significant complications develop. A total proctocolectomy – removal of the entirety of the large bowel – can be curative but has the potential for complications.

Researchers from UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital found a dramatic increase in the number of hospitalizations for children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the United States – using data from 2000 to 2009 to substantiate their results.

The study looked at more than 11 million hospitalization records of patients under 20 using a federal children’s inpatient database.

IBD discharges increased by 65 percent; jumping from 11,928 in 2000 to 19,568 in 2009. When looking at the most common types of IBD individually, the authors found a 59 percent increase in CD hospital discharges and a 71 percent increase UC discharges during their study period, reports Science Daily.

According to the study’s principal investigator, Thomas J. Sferra, MD – Division Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine – this increasing trend was present in each age category and across all geographic regions (Northeast, Midwest, South and West).

Reasons behind the increase are still unclear and more research is necessary.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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