When your child is diagnosed with IBD, you will likely meet first with your gastroenterologist. However, treating IBD often involves a team of specialists. This handout describes each of the different people on your child’s care team.


Good nutrition is very important for people with IBD. Many people with IBD have lost weight when they are diagnosed or when they are flaring. Calories help your body heal, and a dietician can help plan a proper diet with you. In some cases, nutritional therapy can control the inflammation. An appointment with a dietician should be scheduled shortly after an IBD diagnosis.

Pediatric Surgeon

For some children, surgeons may need to be part of the care team. In children who have ulcerative colitis, if medicine does not help, they may have surgery to remove the large intestine (colon). Some children with Crohn’s disease also may benefit from surgery.


A radiologist is a doctor that looks at imaging studies like X-rays, CT scans and MRIs. These imaging studies are described in a separate handout.

Social Worker

Social workers are experts who help children and families interact and deal with stressful life situations. They can offer guidance on requesting 504 plans for children in school, help address problems and give advice on where children can find services they need.


An ophthalmologist is a medical eye doctor. Children with IBD can have eye problems from inflammation in the eye because of IBD or IBD medicine. We recommend an eye exam shortly after your child is diagnosed with IBD and once every 1 to 2 years after that.


A rheumatologist is a doctor who is an expert in inflammatory problems in joints. Some children with IBD may have pain in their joints (eg, knees, ankles, hands) and may be referred to a rheumatologist.

Psychiatrist or Therapist

Psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists help children with IBD and families deal with stress and anxiety by teaching relaxation techniques and coping strategies.


An endocrinologist is an expert in puberty and growth. If puberty is delayed, an X-ray of the hand may be taken to measure the bone age. An endocrinologist helps to understand the reason for a delay in growth or puberty.

Rev. 11/2013

This document is intended to provide health related information so that you may be better informed. It is not a substitute for a doctor's medical advice and should not be relied upon for treatment for specific medical conditions.