Parenting Guide to Crohn’s Disease In Children
Any type of chronic disorder may be especially difficult for a child to cope with. Likewise, being a parent to such a child may leave you feeling helpless and cheated. Unfortunately, the presence of Crohn’s Disease will not be any easier to bear or deal with, as it has particularly unpleasant side effects.
Crohn’s Disease is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease which occurs when the immune system overreacts to an agent of the digestive system, sends excessive white blood cells to the area, and causes inflammation as a result. The exact cause of Crohn’s Disease is unknown, but doctors believe it is because the body misperceives positive bacteria naturally found in the intestines as being harmful. However, once the reaction occurs, the immune system is unable to stop the attack on the digestive tract.
Any area of the digestive system may be affected by Crohn’s disease, from mouth to rectum; however, the area most affected is the lower portion of the small intestines and colon. Depending on which portion of the system is disease, different symptoms may arise. Some examples of symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, loss of appetite, and vomiting. Also, as a result of many of these symptoms, certain side effects occur, such as anemia, weight loss, stunted growth, and delayed development.
There may also be complication in areas outside of the digestive system, such as arthritis, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, or eye inflammation.
Although Crohn’s is a chronic disease, meaning it is ongoing, it does have periods of inactivity. During these periods, no symptoms may occur. However, they will inevitably return at some point. There is currently no cure for Crohn’s Disease.
Treatments for Crohn’s Disease include medications and surgery in severe cases. Medications are usually taken to decrease swelling in the bowels, control the reaction of the immune system, treat infection that may arise, or to treat the symptoms of Crohn’s. Surgery is usually only utilized when other treatment methods are ineffective. Unfortunately, many of the medications taken cause a myriad of side effects, many very severe in nature. However, often medication is necessary in spite of side effects to eliminate potentially life threatening issues, such as infection.
It is important to maintain a healthy diet and to intake plenty of fluids. Malnutrition sometimes occurs from lack of absorption of foods. Likewise, dehydration is a concern due to diarrhea and vomiting.
Your child will also more than likely experience a lot of emotional issues as a result of this disease.