Here are the Common Digestive Concerns in Children (0 –18)
The occasional rumbling tummy or stomach ache is generally a common occurrence for children and teens of all ages. But if the aches and pains are consistent, are you familiar with what solutions might relieve these symptoms? In the event your child or teenager needs pediatric GI care in DFW, we encourage you to partner with our gastroenterology experts. At Texas Digestive Disease Consultants, we maintain the skills and expertise necessary to offer personalized treatment options. Read on to discover facts about common childhood digestive disorders, along with some insightful tips and tricks from our team.
How frequently are children affected by digestive disorders?
Per the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, 40 to 50% of medical appointments with a pediatric gastroenterology specialist are due to functional gastrointestinal disorders. Constipation, or encopresis, affects approximately 10 to 25% of children who are referred to a pediatric gastroenterology specialist, and around 17% of high school-age patients deal with symptoms connected to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Our DFW gastroenterology providers aim to help your family determine treatment options for pediatric GI concerns.
What types of digestive disorders commonly affect teens, children, and infants?
A sample of the pediatric GI disorders commonly identified in infants, children, and teenagers include the following:
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease): Recurring heartburn in infants and children may lead to a GERD diagnosis. Common signs and symptoms of GERD are burping, lack of a desire to eat, throwing up, stomach pain, hiccups, and gagging or choking.
Lactose intolerance: A treatable condition, lactose intolerance is one of the digestive disorders that can affect children of all ages. It develops when your child cannot process the sugar present in dairy (lactose). Loose or watery stools, gas, a stomach ache, or bloating after consuming dairy are all signs of lactose intolerance. Ingesting lactase enzymes before eating dairy products can enable the body to digest lactose properly.
Constipation: This gastrointestinal condition arises when stool is large, dry, and/or hard to pass. In kids, this might cause them to avoid routine bathroom habits. Not having regular bowel movements could result in more constipation and additional gastrointestinal discomfort.
IBD (inflammatory bowel disease): This gastrointestinal disorder may affect children and teenagers. IBD involves two distinctive digestive conditions. Ulcerative colitis leads to inflammation in the large intestine (colon), while Crohn’s disease can affect all areas of the GI tract. Symptoms for both conditions may include watery or bloody bowel movements and stomach discomfort.
Celiac disease: Celiac disease is a gastrointestinal condition that develops when an adverse reaction occurs as a result of consuming products containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in barley, wheat, and rye. When the disease is uncontrolled, it can damage the small intestine and prevent your child from gaining the necessary nutrients from the food they eat.
EoE (eosinophilic esophagitis): This condition is present in the esophagus. EoE can cause chronic allergic inflammatory disease. Children may have a burning feeling similar to acid reflux, regurgitation, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Additionally, they may often gag and experience difficulty swallowing.
What steps can parents take to promote good digestive health in kids?
As a parent, you want the best for your family. This includes everything from planning doctor visits to ensuring they consume a healthy and well-rounded diet. A few ways to help your child achieve digestive wellness are to implement these tips into their daily life:
- Eat at a slower pace: Between after-school activities and spending time with friends, it is tempting for teens to quickly snag something from the pantry while on the go. Make sure they take their time and enjoy the food they consume to help avoid stomach discomfort.
- Eat meals together as a family: Strive to make meals enjoyable for all family members with a family mealtime. This allows for consistency and stability, helping to make mealtime enjoyable for all. Allowing your toddlers to feed themselves during family meals is also an excellent way to help them build a healthy relationship with food.
- Control portion sizes: The amount of food eaten can impact how food is processed and digested. If your child eats excessively, it may lead to digestion difficulties and end up resulting in an upset stomach.
For additional suggestions on how to help your child experience good GI health, request a visit with us at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants. Our providers will partner with you to choose a solution that suits your family’s lifestyle and needs.
Find treatment for pediatric GI disorders in DFW
Children's digestive issues do not have to result in ongoing, unmanageable pain. You can find solutions for every member of your family when GI conditions arise. To hear more about the common gastrointestinal disorders found in children, please request a consultation at Texas Digestive Disease Consultants. Our gastroenterology group provides pediatric digestive care in DFW that can help your child experience good GI wellness for years to come.