Common Digestive Problems Among Children (Ages 0-18)
An occasional stomach ache or rumbling tummy is quite a common occurrence for babies, children, and teenagers. However, in the event the aches and pains are consistent, are you familiar with what remedies might relieve these symptoms? If your little one needs pediatric gastrointestinal care in Dallas, TX, connect with our gastroenterology providers. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, we have the skills and expertise needed to provide reliable solutions. Read on to find out additional details about common childhood digestive disorders, along with a few helpful tips and tricks from our team.
How frequently are children impacted by digestive conditions?
As reported by the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, 40 to 50% of appointments with a pediatric gastroenterologist are due to functional GI disorders. Constipation or encopresis is present in around 10 to 25% of children who are referred to a pediatric GI specialist, and approximately 17% of high school-age students deal with symptoms connected to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Our Dallas, TX gastroenterology providers want to help your family find solutions for pediatric gastrointestinal conditions.
What variations of GI conditions often affect teens, children, and infants?
Some pediatric digestive disorders that are common in teenagers, children, and infants involve:
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease): Persistent heartburn in infants and children may lead to a diagnosis of GERD. General GERD symptoms involve belching, lack of a desire to eat, throwing up, abdominal discomfort, hiccups, and choking or gagging.
Lactose intolerance: A treatable issue, lactose intolerance is a GI condition that may affect children of all ages. It arises when the child's body lacks the ability to process lactose (the sugar present in dairy). Gas, bloating, a stomach ache, or loose or watery stools after ingesting dairy products are all signs of lactose intolerance. Consuming lactase enzymes prior to ingesting dairy can enable the body to process lactose properly.
Constipation: This gastrointestinal condition occurs when stool becomes dry, large, and/or difficult to pass. Among children, constipation could cause them to avoid routine bathroom habits. Not having regular bowel movements can cause more constipation and additional GI discomfort.
IBD (inflammatory bowel disease): This digestive issue may occur in children and teenagers. It involves two distinctive gastrointestinal diseases. Ulcerative colitis results in inflammation in the large intestine (colon), and Crohn’s disease can impact all parts of the digestive tract. Common symptoms for both diseases may involve bloody or watery bowel movements and stomach pain.
Celiac disease: Celiac disease is a gastrointestinal issue that develops when an adverse reaction develops after ingesting gluten. Gluten is a protein found in barley, rye, and wheat. If the condition is uncontrolled, it can damage the small intestine and hinder your child from absorbing the necessary nutrients from the food they consume.
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE): This condition affects the esophagus. It can result in chronic allergic inflammatory disease. Children affected by this condition can experience abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, regurgitation, and a burning sensation similar to acid reflux. Additionally, they might gag frequently and experience difficulty swallowing.
What can parents do to promote good GI health in kids?
Our team knows that as a parent, you want to do what's best for your family. This includes everything from scheduling doctor appointments to making sure they eat a healthy and well-rounded diet. A few ways to help your child achieve GI wellness are to infuse the following tips into their day-to-day life:
- Sit down as a family to eat: Make meals fun for every member of your family and commit to family mealtime. This provides consistency and stability, helping to make the time spent sharing family meals an enjoyable experience. Allowing your toddlers to feed themselves during mealtimes is also a helpful way to help them build a healthy association with food.
- Control portion sizes: The amount of food eaten can make a difference in how food is processed and digested. If a child eats in excess, it might cause difficulty in digesting food and end up resulting in an upset stomach.
- Eat more slowly: We know that between after-school activities and spending time with friends, it is tempting for your teenager to quickly grab something from the pantry before heading out the door. Encourage them to take time to enjoy the food they consume to avoid GI discomfort.
For additional suggestions on how to help your child enjoy good digestive health, request a consultation with us at Digestive Health Associates of Texas. Our providers can partner with you to choose a solution that matches your family’s needs and lifestyle.
Dedicated care for pediatric GI disorders in Dallas, TX
Pediatric digestive disorders do not have to result in ongoing, unmanageable discomfort. You can find options for care for everyone in the family when needed. To hear more about the common gastrointestinal conditions found in children, request a consultation at Digestive Health Associates of Texas. Our GI team proudly offers pediatric digestive care in Dallas, TX that can help your little one experience good gastrointestinal health now and in the future.