Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term for several chronic diseases that can result when the low-level inflammatory response that helps maintain healthy bacterial levels in the intestines rages out of control. This can cause diarrhea, bleeding, abdominal pain, fever, joint pain and weight loss. Types of IBD include:

  • Crohn’s disease — involves any part of the intestine from mouth to bottom
  • Ulcerative colitis — usually involves only the large intestine (colon)
  • Microscopic colitis

IBD is a chronic inflammation or irritation of the intestines that is not due to infection. In patients with IBD, the immune system overreacts and causes injury to the intestines. It is important not to confuse IBD with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Although the symptoms of IBS are sometimes similar to those of IBD, the disorders have very different causes and treatments.

Care approach and treatment

The Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Program at UC Davis provides multidisciplinary care and focused disease management for children affected by Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Our program offers comprehensive, individualized treatments for pediatric inflammatory bowel disease, with the aim of enhancing long-term health and quality of life for children and their families. We know that IBD can significantly impact your child’s life. We are committed to using all the knowledge, technology, and support resources we have to help your child live as happily and actively as possible.

Our team includes pediatric gastroenterologists, pediatric surgeons, registered dietitians, pathologists, pharmacists, social workers, and child life specialists. We also work closely with pediatric specialists in psychiatry and psychology, radiology, infectious diseases, endocrinology and urology.

Your family and child are key members of our treatment team. We will work closely with you to understand and manage what might be causing the condition and aggravating your child’s symptoms. Genetics, environmental triggers and your child’s unique immune system can all be factors.

Treatment may involve a combination of medication, surgery, nutritional management and other supportive therapies designed to achieve remission or reduce symptoms.