Inflammation in Gastrointestinal Tract

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a disorder characterized by inflammation of all or part of the gastrointestinal tract. While doctors don’t know exactly what causes IBD, we do know that environmental, genetic and immune factors all seem to contribute to the disease. Adults typically are diagnosed with IBD more than children; however, many pediatric patients do have IBD.

If your child is diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, you’ve come to the right place. The expert surgeons at Penn State Children’s Hospital work closely with pediatric gastroenterologists to manage your child’s IBD. Our commitment to multidisciplinary care is an integral part of the pediatric colorectal program at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Symptoms of pediatric inflammatory bowel disorder can vary from child to child; however, the following symptoms could indicate an issue: 

  • Belly pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Constipation
  • Cramps
  • Eye swelling
  • Feeling that you need to pass stool
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Slow pediatric growth
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Watery diarrhea

Your child’s first visit will include a physical evaluation and medical history by one of our pediatric gastroenterologists. Our team will learn more about your child’s symptoms and lifestyle, including diet and current medications. The gastroenterologist might also order diagnostic tests to help identify if your child has IBD. 

Diagnostic testing for pediatric gastroenterology issues can include:

  • Endoscopic procedures: your child’s gastroenterologist will use a thin tube with a camera to see the inside lining of the digestive tract
  • pH probe: a small tube inserted through the patient’s nostril that measures the amount of acid that flows into the esophagus from the stomach during a 24-hour period
  • Liver biopsy: a surgery that removes a small amount of liver tissue so our team can examine it for damage or disease

The outcome for pediatric inflammatory bowel disease is positive with ongoing, dedicated medical care.

Our Experts in Care

The Pediatric Gastroenterology (GI) and Nutrition care team are committed to providing our pediatric patients with specialized IBD testing, treatment and follow-up care.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Pediatric GI Treatments

At Penn State Children’s Hospital, our specialists work with patients and their families to determine the source of the GI problem. Together, we will create an effective treatment plan that fits with your child’s lifestyle, which often includes medications and activity modifications.

Specialized IBD Care

At Penn State Children’s Hospital, our specialists work with patients and their families to determine the source of your child’s problem – and help them feel better. Together, we’ll create an effective treatment plan that fits with your child’s lifestyle. This often includes medications such as:

  • Amino salicylates (anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Antibiotics
  • Biologic agents
  • Immunomodulators
  • Steroids
  • Symptom management medication 

IBD Surgery at Penn State Children’s Hospital

Some of our pediatric IBD patients require surgery – and at Penn State Children’s Hospital, your child is in the very best hands. Our pediatric surgeons are committed to the surgical care of children with IBD. Our state-of-the-art operating suites focus on pediatric IBD surgeries like laparoscopic ileal pouches, bowel resections, seton placements and other complex procedures.

If surgery is a potential part of your child’s treatment plan, our specialists will discuss all available surgical options. The type of surgery depends on the type and severity of IBD. Some patients decide to pursue surgery only if their symptoms don’t improve with medication. We will walk through all of the options and decide on a treatment plan that works best for your child’s needs.

Commitment to Research

The Penn State Children’s Hospital Pediatric Gastroenterology frequently participates in clinical trials to improve digestive problems like IBD in children and adolescents. For more information on clinical trials at Penn State Children’s Hospital, please visit StudyFinder [link to: https://studyfinder.psu.edu].

Support Groups

Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Support Group

The Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Support Group provides adolescent pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients age 12-18 years and their parents with helpful information and the...

The Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Support Group provides adolescent pediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients age 12-18 years and their parents with helpful information and the chance to meet others living with IBD.

The meetings take place quarterly at Penn State Children’s Hospital, rooms P1100/P1100A, and feature a brief presentation on educational topics, followed by discussion for the parents and an activity for the adolescents. 

Please call 717-531-1043 for more information..

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Find the care your family needs, close to home, at one of our many locations throughout central Pennsylvania.

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