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Management of mild to moderate ulcerative colitis in children and adolescents

Athos Bousvaros, MD
Mala Setty, MD
Jess L Kaplan, MD
Section Editor
Melvin B Heyman, MD, MPH
Deputy Editor
Alison G Hoppin, MD


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is comprised of two major disorders, ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn disease (CD). These disorders have distinct pathologic and clinical characteristics (table 1), but their pathogenesis remains poorly understood. (See "Definition, epidemiology, and risk factors in inflammatory bowel disease".)

Approximately 20 percent of patients with CD and 12 percent of those with UC develop symptoms before 20 years of age [1]. The development of IBD early in life has implications that are not encountered in adults. Clinicians caring for children and adolescents with CD or UC not only must treat the underlying disease and its complications but must also carefully monitor linear growth, skeletal development, and puberty, as well as how the child's maturation and psychological health are affected by living with a chronic disease. In addition, some therapies used for older patients cannot be applied to young children, because many children are unable to swallow pills or refuse enema therapy.

The treatment of UC in children and adolescents is reviewed here. Other aspects of the diagnosis and management of children with UC are discussed in separate topic reviews:

(See "Clinical presentation and diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease in children".)

(See "Important health maintenance issues for children and adolescents with inflammatory bowel disease".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 03, 2017.
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