An inflammatory disease that causes damage to the digestive system, including the gastrointestinal tract, Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition. Some symptoms of this disorder include stomach cramps, weight loss, diarrhea, fever, fatigue, and constipation. Although it usually affects the intestines, it may be seen anywhere in the digestive tract from the mouth to the rectum. As a result, symptoms can not only vary in type, but also in severity. For severe chronic cases, Crohn’s disease surgery may be a necessary treatment to alleviate these symptoms.
According to a study published in the medical journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, it’s less likely for younger pediatric patients to undergo surgery for this illness, however. Yet the disease is usually diagnosed after the age of 15, which may be one of the main factors why Crohn’s disease surgery is usually seen in older pediatric patients. Most patients will fall between the ages of 15-35, but it is certainly possible for all ages to experience these symptoms, which should be verified by a health care professional.
In the clinical study cited in this medical journal, the researchers monitored all patients under the age of 16 who had recently been diagnosed with IBD, or inflammatory bowel disorder. They observed when and how Crohn’s disease surgery was used as a treatment in these pediatric patients, and how effective it was after 30 days of their initial diagnosis. One thing that they noticed was that although race, family history or genetics, and gender had no effect on whether or not the surgery was needed, age seemed to be a determining factor. Those IBD patients who were aged in between 13 and 16 were far more likely to require this surgery.
Another factor that was noted in relation to Crohn’s disease surgery in this group of patients was that older patients experienced a higher level of severity in their symptoms. This resulted in the increased need for surgery in order to find relief. However, it’s also important to note that not all cases of inflammatory bowel syndrome also involve Crohn’s disease. According to the National Digestive Disease Information Clearinghouse, for example, only 62% of those patients who were hospitalized in 2002 with inflammatory bowel disease actually also were diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
While more research is needed to determine how and why older pediatric patients require Crohn’s disease surgery more often than their younger counterparts, it may be due to their diet as well as genetics. Certain dietary or lifestyle factors have been linked with irritable bowel syndrome or other disorders that affect the colon, including eating processed foods. Yet there has been no specific diet that has been shown to cause this disease. By drinking adequate water amounts and taking vitamin supplements, some of the unpleasant symptoms can be alleviated before surgery is needed. These are usually recommended by healthcare professionals to try first before going in for surgery, no matter what the patient’s age.