Digestive System Woes for Children

Inflammatory bowel disease in children appears to be increasing in number and severity

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Inflammatory bowel diseases are painful conditions that affect the digestive tract, often the small intestine and colon. More children appear to be suffering from these conditions.

A recent study found an increase in hospitalizations for children over a decade for two of these conditions, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The number of children hospitalized for these conditions has nearly doubled from 2000 to 2009.

The researchers of the study were not sure why the increase has occurred.

"Seek a specialist for your child's inflammatory bowel disease concerns."

The study, led by Chaitanya Pant, MD, of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, looked at hospitalization rates for inflammatory bowel disease among children.

The researchers looked for all children who had been discharged from the hospital with a diagnosis of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis from 2000 to 2009.

They used data from a government study database that includes hospital discharge information from 2,500 to 4,000 hospitals throughout the country.

The data included 61,779 hospital discharges for children related to inflammatory bowel disease during 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009. These included 39,451 cases related to Crohn's disease and 22,328 cases of ulcerative colitis.

From 2000 to 2009, the number of cases per year almost doubled. There were 11,928 cases in 2000 and 19,568 cases in 2009.

That translated to an increase from 44 cases per 10,000 children visiting the hospital in 2000 to 72 cases per 10,000 in 2009.

The number of children with Crohn's disease increased from 7,757 in 2000 to 12,441 in 2009. The increase in ulcerative colitis went from 4,171 in 2000 to 7,127 in 2009.

The researchers also found increases in the number of complications and related diseases associated with inflammatory bowel disease during this time.

This finding appears to indicate an increase in how severe the disease is for children, the authors noted.

"The reason for the large increase in the number of hospitalizations of children with [inflammatory bowel disease] during the last decade is not clear," the researchers wrote.

They suggested one possible reason for the increase in complications could be related to increases in infections acquired in the hospital.

This study was published June 21 in the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

The research did not use outside funding. No conflicts of interest were reported.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 27, 2013
Last Updated:
August 1, 2013