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The Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Program at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital provides comprehensive and individualized diagnosis and treatment for children and adolescents suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and other intestinal disorders. While the cause of IBD is currently not known, both genetics and environmental factors contribute, resulting in an inappropriate immune response to the presence of bacteria in the digestive track. IBD most commonly develops during adolescence, becoming a lifelong chronic illness.
Medical treatment is custom-tailored to each patient, first to bring the disease under control and then to maintain remission. Patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team (IBD specialized pediatric gastroenterologist, pediatric surgeons, nutritionist, social worker, psychologist and nurses) and have access to the most advanced technologies and therapies. While most specialists continue to rely on fluoroscopic X-ray technology, our team has developed protocols for using magnetic resonance (MR) enterography to provide highly detailed images of the intestine and colon without the radiation exposure associated with the older imaging technique. In addition to providing state-of-the-art care, the program participates in clinical trials to develop effective treatment for each patient.
IBD symptoms - including abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea - and treatments requiring daily medication and restricted diet can be trying for children and adolescents. A psychologist and social worker help patients and their families understand that the disease should not limit their activities. We also offer a transition-of-care program to help older pediatric patients move seamlessly into the care of adult gastroenterologist specialists.