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Shriners Children's provides specialty care for children with Crohn's disease.

The goal of our colorectal and gastrointestinal specialty care is to provide advanced care and rehabilitation to children with anal-rectal disorders, free them from social stigma, and allow them to live and play like other children.

What Are Anorectal Malformations?

Anorectal malformations are conditions where the anus and rectum don't develop as they should. This occurs during pregnancy, when an unborn baby is developing. Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which can lead to stomach pain, severe diarrhea, weakness, weight loss and children not getting enough nutrition.

What Are Some of the Symptoms in a Child with Crohn's Disease?

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blood in stool
  • Mouth sores
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Pain or drainage near or around the anus

Children with Crohn's disease can also experience:

  • Inflammation of skin, eyes and joints
  • Kidney stones
  • Iron deficiency (anemia)
  • Delayed growth or sexual development

How We Care for Children with Crohn's Disease

There is no cure for Crohn's disease, but our colorectal and gastrointestinal surgeons and clinicians provide a variety of treatment options for children with this condition. Treatments include nutrition therapy, use of medications, as well as surgical procedures; and no single treatment works for every child. Each case is treated on an individual basis. The goal is to give children the ability to live with as few limitations as possible by focusing on symptom relief and long-term remission.

We provide follow-up care to monitor your child’s health throughout their entire childhood, prevent problems, manage symptoms and focus on giving your child the best quality of life.

Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.


Understanding Your Child's Colorectal & Gastrointestinal (GI) Appointment(s)

On the first visit, parents and children typically come for a group overview and educational presentation about bowel management. Our doctors and nurses explain the medicines, enemas and diets we use as treatment options. Each family has a one-on-one clinic visit with a provider from the program to make a plan for their child.

If referred to one of our locations for a more complex condition or surgery, you and your child go directly to the one-on-one visit with one of our providers to build an individualized plan of care.

Sometimes, when deemed appropriate, your child may have bowel X-ray. This helps us with diagnoses and to check whether your child’s plan is progressing as expected. A nurse from our program will talk with you either in person or by phone to discuss your child’s results.

Our goal is for your child to empty their bowel daily with no accidents and to live with as few limitations as possible. Success depends on your child’s condition and following your plan closely.

How We Support Your Child’s Total Health and Well-Being

Families and patients say that Shriners Children’s feels like home to them, and it's no wonder to us. We know that a child's needs go beyond the physical. Our care teams support their social, emotional and developmental health with patient programs and activities.

A few examples include:

The dietitians at Shriners Children's do an especially good job. They would visit us every day to give us advice on what foods were best for Jordyn’s digestive system. They recommended food combinations that helped her digestion work well.
Yoni, Sacramento
physician and female patient

Pediatric Surgeons Who Specialize in Colorectal Care

Our pediatric surgeons are recognized worldwide and specialize in care for children experiencing issues with their bowels and digestive system, among other conditions. They work to give children improved health, better function and less pain, while also giving children greater independence, ability and confidence.

Innovative Treatments

View All Related Treatments

Alternatives to Rectal Enemas

Our team provides individualized diets, laxatives and psychosocial therapy to provide relief for children with constipation.


Shriners Children's pediatric surgeons perform this surgery to correct anorectal malformations that cause painful bowel movements. It involves the reconstruction of the anus to stretch or enlarge the opening where stool drains.

Colonic Irrigation

This alleviates immobile stool in the colon, preventing bacterial overgrowth and colitis. Our team teaches parents to perform colonic irrigation effectively at home.

Colon Resection

Colon resections, also referred to as sigmoid resections or bowel resections, are performed by our pediatric surgeons. The procedure involves removing part of the bowel to treat and prevent diseases and conditions that affect the colon.

Gastrostomy Tube Placement

A gastrostomy tube (G-tube) is placed in the stomach as a feeding tube for children who cannot get enough nutrition by mouth. Shriners Children’s uses G-tubes for children with esophageal, stomach or intestinal problems.


An ileostomy helps waste and gas exit the body without passing through the colon or rectum. An Ileostomy is typically used when a disease is preventing the colon from working properly or the colon has to be removed.

Ostomy Creation and Closure

Ostomy procedures change the way a child's urine or stool exits their body because of problems with their digestive or urinary system. Ostomies can be temporary or permanent.

Rectal Botox

Rectal Botox injections relax the sphincter muscles slightly, making it easier for a child to pass stool. Shriners Children's considers this method before surgical options.

Next Steps

Request an Appointment

Families and caregivers seeking treatment should start by contacting us for an appointment.

Log in to the Patient Portal

Parents and guardians of existing patients can email, request records, schedule appointments and more.

Refer a Patient

Physicians and healthcare providers can request appointments, start transfers or contact us with questions.