Common Gastrointestinal Diseases in Kids
Some of the most common GI diseases are:
- Crohn's disease
- Celiac disease
- Bulimia and anorexia
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Ulcerative colitis
- Food allergies
Sometimes your child's stomach ache is something more and you will need to visit a Gastrointestinal specialist. Children's Hospital's GI staff knows what signs and symptoms to look for if your child's pain is more serious.
What to Expect During Your Visit to the GI
At your first visit, the GI doctor will talk about your child's medical history with you. He is looking for alarm symptoms like:
- Uncontrolled weight loss
- Late puberty
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Unexplained fever
- Family history of inflammatory bowel disease
The doctor will also do a physical exam. He will look for tenderness, fullness beneath the skin or organ enlargement. Further tests may include abdominal CT scans, ultrasounds or MRIs at Children's Hospital.
If your child has sharp stomach pain then vomits, the problem may be more serious than a visit to the GI doctor. Causes for sharp stomach pain can include appendicitis or intestinal obstruction or perforation. You may need to go to the Emergency Department.
Endoscopy Suite at Children's Hospital
East Tennessee Children's Hospital has one of the few stand-alone endoscopy suites in the country just for children. This means that we can to perform endoscopies on site.
These tests allow doctors to put a camera through the digestive system and find the source of many GI issues.
Transitions and Therapy
Many GI disorders can cause frequent pain and embarrassing symptoms. These sometimes lead to social withdrawal and avoiding school. Also, many psychological illnesses can be the cause of GI problems. Eating disorders and elimination disorders lead to the physical problems that our GI doctors treat. The Children's Hospital GI Department is home to Transitions, a behavior health center for children. Therapists can help your child with:
- Accepting illness
- Living with illness
- Managing chronic diseases
- Eating disorders
Meeting with a Dietician
After your appointment, your child may need a new diet for recovery and good health. Many medical problems improve quickly with changes in food habit and nutrition. Schedule an appointment with one of Children's Hospital's registered dieticians if you have not visited the GI Department yet and your child is having one of these problems:
- Celiac disease or gluten intolerance
- Food allergies
- Failure to thrive
- Constipation or diarrhea
Our dietician will review your child's medical records, measure his weight and height and discuss the three day food diary you will create before the appointment. This diary includes what food and drink was consumed, when and how much. The dietician will help you create a food plan for your child based on medical needs, lifestyle and food preferences. The appointment usually takes one hour.