Summary: Digestive disorders are common in children, making it essential to visit a pediatric gastrointestinal specialist to help your child flourish.
When imagining the type of person who might require medical care for a gastrointestinal (GI) problem, we typically think of a mature adult or an individual of older age. As much as age is commonly a factor in the onset of gastro conditions, kids are not impervious to digestive troubles — and may even be more susceptible to certain GI conditions.
If your child is showing signs of a digestive issue, the gastrointestinal specialists at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center may be able to help improve their GI health. Below is helpful information to consider when deciding whether to consult one of our Jackson, MS pediatric GI specialists.
How does a child's gastrointestinal system differ from that of a mature adult’s?
Like other systems in the body, the gastrointestinal tract takes some time to develop after birth. Digestive issues in babies are relatively common throughout this early stage of development. For instance, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscle at the bottom of the esophagus that functions to prevent stomach acid from flowing backward, is generally not well-developed in babies, creating problems with acid reflux.
Since optimal nutrition is tied closely together to a child's development and growth, it's important to schedule a consultation with a pediatric GI provider if you suspect your newborn is suffering from gastrointestinal troubles. Pediatric GI issues are more common than you may expect, with some even beginning at birth.
Which type of pediatric gastrointestinal complications are most commonly experienced?
While young children can be affected by a number of the same GI concerns that are typical in grownups, certain types are more prevalent than others. Those that occur more frequently include:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Gastroesophageal reflux disease describes the inflammation and scarring present in the esophagus when recurrent gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux) occurs. This disorder is extremely common among infants and newborns and is frequently accompanied by vomiting, hiccups, gagging, and an unwillingness to eat.
- Constipation: Constipation is a GI condition that involves difficulty or problems with passing stools.
- CVS (cyclic vomiting syndrome): This ailment causes severe vomiting episodes that transpire in frequent cycles and is commonly seen in kids.
- Abdominal pain: A number of minor GI symptoms (like flatulence) will dissipate over time, but persistent or extreme discomfort warrants a visit with a pediatric gastrointestinal specialist.
- IBD (inflammatory bowel disease): This includes GI issues like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
- Food intolerances: Food intolerances that commonly affect children involve lactose intolerance (difficulty with digesting milk products) and celiac disease (an autoimmune reaction to gluten that causes damage to the small intestine).
It's very important to manage gastro troubles in infants, toddlers, and newborns, as these issues may hinder the child's capability to take in the nutrients they need to grow in a healthy manner. The gastroenterologists at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center can help you understand your child's GI issues troubles and determine the ideal treatment for their needs.
When is the right time to bring my child to a pediatric GI doctor?
It's better to be proactive when it comes to any health ailment. Even a small issue, such as diarrhea, may point to a more serious problem when it occurs routinely. There are a few distinct symptoms that warrant a consultation with a pediatric gastrointestinal specialist regardless of frequency:
- Persistent watery, loose stools
- Frequent dry or hard stools
- Blood with bowel movements
- A lag in or little to no growth even when getting enough food
- Repeated vomiting or blood in vomit
If you notice any indication of the above concerns, please request an appointment with a gastrointestinal specialist promptly.
Find pediatric digestive care in Jackson, MS
At GI Associates & Endoscopy Center, our providers care for an assortment of gastrointestinal disorders and are devoted to helping improve the GI health of the patients we serve. If you are concerned about your little one's gastrointestinal health and are looking for a pediatric GI provider in Jackson, MS, please contact us today to reserve an appointment.