(NBC News) A growing number of children are being diagnosed with diseases once usually reserved for adults.
That includes Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and doctors aren't sure what's causing the increase in cases.
For several years 14-year-old John Bell has battled an extreme and painful form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease called Severe Ulcerative Pancolitis.
When medications did not help, he and his family made the tough decision to have his entire colon surgically removed.
"I was stuck. I couldn't move, just everything hurt," he says.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease mostly affects adults, but doctors say cases in children, even under age 6, have been rising at a fast pace.
"We used to consider that very rare, but they've been the fastest rising in terms of overall incidence of the disease," says Dr. Shervin Rabizadeh.
Doctors suspect changes in the environment, like diet or antibiotic exposures, may be altering the microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract.
Red flags for Inflammatory Bowel Disease in kids are a failure to grow as much as expected, as well as abdominal pain and bowel troubles.
To read more, click here.