When Should I Take My Child to a Pediatric GI Specialist?


When you imagine the type of person more likely to need care for a digestive health issue, you probably think of a full-grown adult or an individual of older age. Despite the fact that age can be a component in the occurrence of certain gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, kids are not immune to intestinal troubles — and can be possibly more at risk for specific GI conditions.

If you believe your child might have a pediatric gastrointestinal condition, the GI physicians at Digestive Health Associates of Texas may be able to help improve their GI health. Below is some key information to keep in mind when determining whether to consult one of our Dallas, TX pediatric gastroenterologists.

How is a child's GI system different from that of a mature adult’s?

Just like every other system present in the body, the GI system takes some time to develop after birth. Gastrointestinal concerns in infants are common during this stage of development. For example, the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle at the base of the esophagus that acts to block stomach acid from moving upward, is ordinarily not well-developed in babies, creating problems with acid reflux.

Given that proper nutrition is closely tied to a child's development and growth, it's strongly recommended that you connect with a pediatric gastrointestinal provider if you feel your newborn may be having gastrointestinal issues. Pediatric GI concerns are more widespread than you might realize, and some even begin at birth.

Which pediatric GI complications are most common?

Although children may be impacted by many of the same GI conditions that are common in adults, certain types are more prevalent than others. A few of the more likely issues are:

  • Abdominal pain: A number of minor intestinal troubles (like gas) will often settle over time, though repeated or severe discomfort warrants evaluation by a pediatric gastrointestinal specialist.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): This involves digestive conditions like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS): CVS is a complication characterized by episodes of excessive vomiting that occur in cycles and is normally seen in children.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Gastroesophageal reflux disease involves inflammation and scarring of the esophagus brought on by frequent acid reflux. This illness is very common in newborns and infants and is frequently accompanied by hiccups, gagging, vomiting, and a reluctance to eat food.
  • Food intolerances: In children, food intolerances often include lactose intolerance (difficulty processing milk products) and celiac disease (an autoimmune adverse reaction to gluten that damages the small intestine).
  • Constipation: Constipation describes problems or difficulty when passing stools.

It's highly important to manage GI troubles in infants, toddlers, and newborns, as these issues could impair the child's ability to absorb the nutrients they require to grow in a healthy way. The GI providers at Digestive Health Associates of Texas can work with you and your family to help you understand the condition and find the treatment needed.

When is the right time to bring my child to a pediatric GI specialist?

It is better to be safe than sorry when dealing with any health ailment. Even a minor GI problem, like diarrhea, might be evidence of a bigger problem if it happens routinely. There are a few distance symptoms that you should bring to the attention of a pediatric gastroenterologist, however:

  • Recurrent bouts of watery stools (diarrhea) or constipation (dry, hard stools)
  • Recurrent vomiting or blood in vomit
  • A lag in or no growth despite getting an acceptable amount of nourishment
  • Blood with bowel movements

Should you observe any of the above complications, please schedule a consultation with a GI provider as soon as you can.

Find pediatric gastrointestinal care in Dallas, TX

At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, our gastrointestinal specialists provide treatment for an assortment of pediatric GI concerns and are committed to helping our patient improve their GI health. If you are concerned about your child's GI health and are looking for a pediatric GI specialist in Dallas, TX, please contact our team today to reserve a treatment consultation.