Digestive and Liver Disorders

Anorectal malformations are birth defects, or problems that happen as an unborn baby is developing during pregnancy. With this defect, the anus and rectum don’t develop properly. They are the lower part of the digestive tract.

Appendicitis is a painful swelling and infection of the appendix.  It is a medical emergency. The appendix can burst or rupture. This is serious and can lead to more infection. If not treated, it can be fatal.

Biliary atresia is a rare liver disease that occurs in infants. It is often found shortly after birth. The disorder affects tubes in the liver called bile ducts. If not treated with surgery, it can be fatal.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long-term (chronic) disorder that affects the large intestine or colon. IBS causes painful belly (abdominal) and bowel symptoms.

Detailed information on common children's digestive problems, including colic, diarrhea, food allergies, and lactose intolerance

Colic is when a healthy baby cries for a very long time, for no obvious reason. It is a common problem that affects some babies during the first 6 weeks of life.

Constipation is when a child has very hard stools, and has fewer bowel movements than he or she normally does. It is a very common GI (gastrointestinal) problem.

Crohn's disease is when there is redness, swelling (inflammation), and sores along the digestive tract. It is part of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.

Diarrhea is a common problem. It may last 1 or 2 days and go away on its own. If diarrhea lasts more than 2 days, your child may have a more serious problem.

Dysphagia means trouble swallowing. This condition happens when food or liquids can’t pass easily from your child’s mouth, into the throat, down the esophagus, and into the stomach when swallowing.

Encopresis is when your child leaks stool into his or her underwear. It is also called stool soiling. It is most often because of long-term (chronic) constipation. Encopresis happens to children ages 4 and older who have already been toilet trained.

A food allergy is when your child’s body has a bad immune reaction to a certain food. This is different than a food intolerance which does not affect the immune system. This is true even though some of the same signs may be present.

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a long-term (chronic) digestive disorder. It happens when stomach contents flow back up (reflux) into the food pipe (esophagus).

H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) is a spiral-shaped germ (bacteria) that infects the stomach. It can damage the tissue in your child’s stomach and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). This can cause redness and swelling (inflammation). It may also cause painful sores called peptic ulcers in the upper digestive tract.

A hernia is when a part of the intestine pushes through a weak spot in the belly (abdominal) muscles. The hernia creates a soft lump or bulge under the skin.

Hirschsprung disease is a rare birth defect. It affects the nerve cells in the large intestine. These nerve cells control the muscles that move food and waste, or stool, through the large intestine. The large intestine is the last part of the digestive tract.

Detailed information on digestive disorders in children

Detailed information on digestive inflammatory and infectious disorders in children

Intussusception is a serious problem in the intestine. It occurs when one part of the intestine slides inside another part. The intestine then folds into itself like a telescope. This creates a blockage or obstruction. It stops food that is being digested from passing through the intestine.

Detailed information on the most common liver disorders in children

Detailed information on how the liver works, including a full-color, labeled illustration of the digestive system

A liver transplant is surgery to replace a diseased liver with a healthy liver from another person.

Detailed information on problems affecting the lower digestive tract of children

Intestinal malrotation is a birth defect. It happens when your baby’s intestinal tract doesn’t form as it should during pregnancy. Malrotation happens when your baby’s intestine doesn’t turn like it should.

Meckel diverticulum is a small pouch in the wall of the intestine. It’s near where the small and large intestines meet. This condition is the most common birth defect of the digestive system. It happens to about 1 in 50 babies.

An omphalocele is a birth defect. It happens when your baby is forming during pregnancy. In this condition, some of your baby’s abdominal organs poke out (protrude) through an opening in the abdominal muscles. This area is in the umbilical cord. A clear (translucent) membrane covers the organs.

Detailed information on problems in prenatal development of the digestive tract

Detailed information on digestive disorders in children

Tracheoesophageal fistula is a connection between the esophagus and the trachea. The esophagus is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. The trachea is the tube that connects the throat to the windpipe and lungs. Normally, the esophagus and trachea are 2 tubes that are not connected. This issue is also called TE fistula or TEF. It can happen in one or more places.

Detailed information on viruses, bacteria, and parasites in the digestive tract.

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In this condition, the inner lining of your child’s large intestine (colon or bowel) and rectum gets inflamed. This inflammation often starts in the rectum and lower (sigmoid) intestine. Then it spreads to the whole colon.

An ulcer is an open sore (lesion). It’s normally found on the skin or mucous membranes. A peptic ulcer is in the lining of the stomach or duodenum. A gastric ulcer is in the stomach. A duodenal ulcer is in the duodenum.

Detailed information on problems affecting the upper digestive tract of children

Congenital liver defects are liver disorders that are present at birth. They are rare. These liver disorders usually block the bile ducts. This affects the flow of bile.

Detailed information on how the digestive system works, including a full-color, labeled illustration of the digestive system

A diaphragmatic hernia is a birth defect. It happens in a baby during pregnancy. In this condition, there’s an opening in your baby’s diaphragm. This is the muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity.

Detailed information on symptoms of liver disease.

Lactose intolerance is when the body can’t easily break down or digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products.

Rumination syndrome causes an automatic regurgitation of recently eaten food. Here's what you need to know about this disorder.

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