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Kids With Crohn's Disease are at Ease Now

Seventeen-year-old Eliot Drieband explains what its like to have Crohns disease − a type of inflammatory bowel disease − in the same matter-of-fact way she describes preparing for an advanced placement exam, working on the school newspaper, starting an organ donor awareness club for teens and being a peer counselor for other kids facing chronic, life-altering illnesses.

The disease is part of my life, just like my hair color, but its not me, she says, acknowledging that its easier dealing with it now than when she and her family learned the diagnosis five years ago. Its nothing to be afraid of. Ive chosen not to hide it; its awkward but it doesnt limit my abilities, said the Pacific Palisades, CA, high school senior.

According to Driebands physician, Marla C. Dubinsky, M.D., medical director of the Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, young people who have inflammatory bowel disease have so much to cope with, but learn not to let the disease derail their lives. She says about her patients, Theyre amazing.

Dubinsky, a pediatric gastroenterologist, and her colleagues at Cedars-Sinai currently treat more than 400 children from 2 to 21 years of age with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis are two different types of inflammatory bowel diseases that affect the digestive system.

Symptoms include diarrhea, sometimes severe enough to require frequent trips to the bathroom (up to 20 or more times a day); significant abdominal pain, bloody stool, blocked bowels, fever, extreme weight loss and anemia. Treatment includes drug therapy, education, nutritional and psychosocial counseling, and surgery.

Both forms of IBD are complex and can be difficult to diagnose. According to the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America, IBD can strike at any age but occurs most often in young people between the ages o
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