Although Crohn's disease can strike anyone, it tends to first appear in young adults over age 15. So when 8-year-old Evelyn Whitaker became uncharacteristically listless and constipated and her stomach hurt, the last thing on her mother's mind was Crohn's disease.
"We kept taking her to the doctor's office, but they couldn't find anything obvious like a strep infection," says Liz Whitaker, Evelyn’s mom.
After about a month, a blood test revealed Evelyn's blood had low iron content. "We added iron supplements to her diet, but her iron levels were not coming back up," Liz says. "We came to the conclusion that her body just wasn't absorbing it in her intestines. That was our first clue that the problem was probably Crohn's."
They were referred to Subra Kugathasan, M.D., Scientific Director of the Center for Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. He performed a colonoscopy that confirmed Evelyn's diagnosis of Crohn’s disease.