Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Children

About Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease refers to two chronic (or recurring) conditions called “Crohn’s disease” and “ulcerative colitis,” which cause redness and swelling (inflammation) in parts of the intestinal tract. Like asthma, IBD symptoms in children occur in bouts — periodically flaring up for sometimes weeks or months.

What’s the Difference Between IBS and IBD?

Often confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), IBD is a condition that can cause the intestines to narrow and restrict food from moving through the bowel. IBS is a functional disorder, which means the digestive system looks perfectly normal, but it doesn’t work exactly like it should. IBD and IBS have many similar symptoms, but IBS doesn’t cause blood in the stool (bowel movements or poop) like IBD can.

Crohn’s vs. Ulcerative Colitis in Children

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both inflammatory bowel diseases that cause inflammation to different parts of the digestive system. Crohn’s can occur anywhere along the intestinal tract, but it’s commonly found in the last segment of the small intestine (ileum) and the large intestine (colon). Ulcerative colitis mostly affects the colon.

Crohn’s impacts the entire thickness of the intestine and can affect more than one section of the intestinal tract. In contrast, ulcerative colitis occurs only within the inner lining of the organ and is found only in one spot.

What Causes IBD in Children?

The exact cause of IBD in children is unknown. However, experts agree that the environment, genetics, and/or diet may have something to do with it. Scientists believe that an overactive immune system may trigger inflammation in response to an offending agent, like a virus or certain foods. Researchers are actively studying IBD to get to the bottom of possible causes, and hopefully help relieve IBD symptoms in children and adults.

A to Z Symptom: Nausea

A to Z Symptom: Nausea

May also be called: Queasiness; Stomach Upset; Being Sick to the Stomach

More to Know

Nausea — a feeling of stomach upset or discomfort, with queasiness — sometimes leads to vomiting


Nausea can have many causes, including common infections, especially viral gastroenteritis (the "stomach flu"); food poisoning; reactions to some medicines or treatments (such as anesthesia or chemotherapy); medical conditions; pregnancy; and even certain types of injuries (like testicular torsion and concussions).


Treatment for nausea will depend on what's causing it. Treating an underlying condition (like a milk allergy) can bring relief. Because nausea sometimes is a sign of a medical emergency (such as appendicitis or diabetic ketoacidosis), if a clear cause isn't known, call a doctor right away.

Keep in Mind

Nausea that leads to vomiting or happens with diarrhea can lead to dehydration. It's important to make sure that the fluids, salts, and minerals lost are replaced.

Washing hands well and often is the best way to prevent spreading some of the infections that can cause nausea. Everyone in your family should wash their hands after using the bathroom and before eating or preparing food.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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Date reviewed: February 06, 2017