Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in pediatric patients. 

We offer a team approach, ensuring each of our patients benefits from the coordinated attention of experts in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, nutrition, rheumatology, surgery, ophthalmology, psychology, social work and child life specialists.

Our commitment is to provide individualized care designed for each patient, alongside supportive education to build the confidence of both the patient and his or her family about their ability to live and thrive with IBD.

IBD: Two unique diseases

Inflammatory bowel disease is a term used to describe two diseases – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. 

Most individuals with a form of IBD are diagnosed before the age of 30.  Over the past decade, it has grown to be an increasingly common form of chronic disease affecting children and adolescents. 

IBD involves the immune system of the intestines (the gut).  The immune system’s job normally is to monitor germs in the intestines and fight infections.  In IBD, the immune system in the intestines is inappropriately over-activated and isn’t able to turn off as it should.  This results in inflammation and damage to the intestines which cause many of the symptoms and complications of IBD.  Regulation of the immune system, therefore, is the primary focus of medical therapy to treat IBD.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is sometimes confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because the names sound similar; however, they are very different conditions.  Some of the symptoms of IBS overlap with IBD, but IBS does not cause inflammation or damage to the intestines, so it is treated very differently from IBD.  An accurate diagnosis is essential for management of either condition.  Our IBD team is part of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital gastroenterology division, working alongside experts in both conditions with specialized experience diagnosing and treating both IBD and IBS.  This is important because some people have both IBD and IBS, and each requires its own treatment and care.

Life-long support and resources

Effective management of IBD extends beyond just medical treatment to include familiarizing patients and their families with a thorough understanding of their disease and techniques for controlling it.

Our IBD team includes nurse educators who work with patients and their families to provide support and resources to allow patients to thrive.

Our social workers provide support across every aspect of a child’s life, including school adjustment and social issues related to IBD and its symptoms.  Our team can refer our patients for psychological support to assist children with adjustment to IBD management and any issues arising from related irritable bowel syndrome co-management. 

We have a peer mentoring program through which we are able to match patients and families up with peers who have been through similar journeys to provide support and exchange similar experiences. 

As adolescents approach adulthood, we work closely with each patient to prepare them for transitioning their care to adult gastroenterology specialists to ensure seamless continuity of care.

IBD Research

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital IBD team actively participates in research to understand IBD more fully, advance treatment options, and improve outcomes and quality of life for individuals with IBD. 

Areas of pediatric IBD research at U-M include the following:

  • Quality improvement methods to improve outcomes for pediatric IBD
  • Using mobile technology to target treatments at improving individual patient symptoms
  • Using MRI to improve treatment of pediatric IBD
  • Preventing fistula-related complications of Crohn’s disease
  • Developing tools to improve communication around risks of medications and risks of disease
  • Minimizing steroid use in the treatment of pediatric IBD

Take the Next Step

Schedule an appointment by calling us at 734-763-9650.