Transitioning an adolescent patient to an internist/gastroenterologist's care requires an understanding of the specific issues and challenges involved in the diagnosis and management of paediatric inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Even though diagnostic criteria, as well as methods are the same in children and adults, younger patients may experience more insidious presentations. A high level of suspicion is necessary for an early and accurate diagnosis. Management of IBD in the paediatric population begins with the assessment of disease extent and activity as well as the identification of potentially serious complications (such as malnutrition, growth/sexual retardation and osteoporosis), which are often present at the time of diagnosis. Treatment includes not only medical, nutritional or surgical therapy but also a multidisciplinary or holistic approach taking into consideration the psychological as well as social impact of the disease on the patient and family.