IBD can be categorized into ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Though there are clear differences between the two, they are closely related and sometimes difficult to distinguish.
Ulcerative colitis is a condition where inflammation affects the most superficial layer of the large intestine (colon). It typically starts at the rectum and can involve a varying amount of the colon. In contrast, the inflammation of Crohn’s disease can affect all layers of the intestine and can involve any area of the gastrointestinal tract – from the mouth to the anus. The type of inflammation seen in Crohn’s disease may lead to long-term complications such as strictures or fistulas (abnormal connections to other organs) that are typically not ...
Working as a CMA (certified medical assistant) in Swedish Pediatric Gastroenterology, I have the responsibility and honor of taking care of children diagnosed with a variety of gastrointestinal problems, one of the most serious being Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). IBD is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic intestinal inflammation. Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main types of IBD, depending on the location and depth of inflammation in the gut.
As I work with the families of children diagnosed with IBD, I am constantly amazed at what a complicated job they have, balancing life between a chronic illness and the challenges of “normal childhood”.
As the school year gets off to a start, seeing how hectic life can become for most kids, I wanted to write down a few ways children with IBD might better empower themselves to gain control over their chronic disease:
I remember one day during my pediatric gastroenterology fellowship, a mother and child were walking in front of my professor and me, as we made our daily rounds in the hospital. When the pacifier fell out of the toddler’s mouth and the mother picked it up and put it right back into the child's mouth, my professor remarked to me, "mark my words....that child will never get Crohn’s disease!" My professor was referring to the theory of the "Hygiene Hypothesis". This theory is thought to explain (at least in part) why so many more people in developed nations become afflicted with autoimmune diseases such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD - Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis) as well as food allergies, compared to people in non-developed nations.
In non-developed countries, where children are...
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