“The incidence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (inflammation and ulcers on the inside of the large intestine, editor’s note) is increasing in childhood. When they start in childhood or adolescence, they have a difficult course with potential complications and require complex and intensive treatment,” he said. Gastroenterologist Milan Lucas, president of the ISCARE Clinic and past president of the Gastroenterology Society, told Prav.
Katharina Mitrova, a doctor at Prague’s Motol Hospital, sees it the same way. “Although inflammatory bowel diseases of a chronic nature often appear for the first time in adolescence, their occurrence in infants or children is no longer exceptional,” he pointed out.
Previously, these chronic diseases appeared in people in their twenties and forties, now Crohn’s disease is especially diagnosed in fifteen-year-olds.
Both diseases are associated with poor functioning of the immune system. They can affect any part of the digestive system from the mouth to the anus. Due to this, they are at high risk of developing colon cancer. However, according to doctors, extensive damage to the alimentary canal in children is more difficult than in adults. Why this is not yet clear.
The beginning of an epidemic?
Many factors, including genetics, usually affect the onset of the disease throughout life. However, some people who are predisposed to it may not manifest it, perhaps due to external influences. While smoking, minimal exercise and poor diet, for example high consumption of refined sugar, have a negative effect on Crohn’s disease, sensitivity and coping with stress play a big role in colitis.
“Colitis is a genetic predisposition and people who are very sensitive, who are tied to their mother, who experience psychological stress due to various life situations, for example school attendance, exams, divorce in the family. This is a big trigger for the appearance of the disease,” Lucas explained.
234,000 patients are treated for eczema in the Czech Republic
According to him, frequent use of antibiotics could also be a trigger.
However, thanks to available treatment, patients can live a full life. Treatment calms the symptoms of the disease and prevents permanent damage to the intestine. In children, gastroenterologists try to avoid requiring treatment with corticosteroids used in adults. Prophylaxis and biological therapy are also available.
“Probiotics and no other nutrients should not be prescribed to a child who is tired, anemic, sometimes has abdominal pain and is underdeveloped. If the adverse condition persists for several weeks, it should be investigated,” Lucas suggested.
The same can be used for adults. According to Ilji Tachecí, president of the professional society, chronic appendicitis also occurs frequently in adults. “This is a problem that can be said to be an epidemic. Fortunately, we have effective products based on biological therapy available in the Czech Republic,” he told Brau. According to him, prevention is very difficult, but a healthy lifestyle can also help.
About 70,000 people in the Czech Republic suffer from chronic appendicitis.