​Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic disease which causes inflammation of the intestines. Crohn’s disease falls under the category of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It usually occurs in the small intestines but can also occur in any other part of the digestive tract including the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine or any part of the large intestine.

Crohn’s disease swells, thickens, or forms an abnormal narrowing (scar tissue) in the intestine which leads to an obstruction (blockage) of the passageway. It may cause ulcers to develop in the deep layers of the intestinal wall. The intestinal tissue may lose its ability to absorb nutrients from digested foods which leads to malabsorption, especially in the small intestine where vitamin B12 and bile acids are absorbed.

Symptoms for Crohn’s disease will be apparent and vary according to the area that has been affected. In general, symptoms can include:

  • Chronic diarrhoea

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Weight loss

  • Fever

  • Abdominal pain

  • Feeling of mass or fullness in the lower right abdomen.

Children and teens with Crohn’s disease have periods of severe symptoms followed by periods of no symptoms.

Other complications from Crohn’s disease include:

  • Gallstones

  • Kidney stones

  • Inflammation (swelling) of the eyes and mouth

  • Liver disease

  • Skin rashes or ulcers

  • Anaemia

If you notice any of the above symptoms, inform your doctor at the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital. Our doctors will be able to guide you through the prognosis and suggest a relevant form of treatment.
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.
To diagnose crohn's disease, one or more of the following tests may be conducted.

  • Endoscopy: This is used to view the inside of the rectum and colon. Colonoscopy shows a greater portion of the colon than sigmoidoscopy does. A small sample of tissue may be taken for testing, or biopsy.

  • Blood tests: your doctor will look for anaemia or white blood cells. An increased white blood cells count will indicate an infection in the body.

  • Barium X-ray (barium enema or small bowel series): These procedures use X-rays to examine the upper or lower intestine. Barium coats the lining of the small intestine and colon and appears white on an X-ray. This allows the doctor to review any abnormalities.​

Treatment depends on how severe Crohn's disease is in your child. Treatment results are not always visible as the disease might go into remission after showing itself for some time. When Crohn's disease is active, treatment is aimed at controlling inflammation, correcting nutritional deficiencies, and relieving symptoms such as pain, diarrhoea, and fever.

In children, medications are always prescribed as the first step towards curing it. Some of these drugs include anti-inflammatory, antibiotics, anti-diarrhoeal, and immune-suppressing drugs. At some instances an all-liquids diet is also suggested. Your child may also be prescribed supplements to restore the lost nutrients of the body.

Diet and stress do not cause Crohn's disease. However, they can worsen the symptoms and hence they need to be managed.

At times, when drugs do not help, surgery is needed to remove the affected area. However, the scar usually returns and the child is recoiled back into the disease. A healthy lifestyle is the most important part of managing this disease. Eating correctly, an active lifestyle, and drinking lots of water and avoid stress are important in managing this disease.​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.