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Understanding the Most Common Gastrointestinal Problems in Children

Gastrointestinal, or GI, conditions can affect different parts of the digestive system including the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines or the rectum. They can also impact other organs that assist in digestion, such as the liver, gallbladder or pancreas.

Our University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s team of digestive health specialists diagnose and treat a full range of GI conditions in children – from the more common to the most complex.

Hepatology Expertise for Liver Disorders Affecting Digestion

The liver plays a critical role in digestion. Two of its main functions are to remove toxins from blood and produce bile, which helps the body break down ingested fat. Conditions such as hepatitis, cancer or liver failure can cause significant problems by keeping the liver from functioning properly. Our specialists work together to accurately diagnose and treat liver disorders in children of any age. We work with patients and their families to help them better understand their unique condition and how to manage day-to-day.

GI Motility Disorder Expertise

The digestive tract runs from the top of the esophagus to the colon. It includes the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines as well as the rectum. Each has its own process for moving contents such as food into, through and out of the body. When the process gets interrupted, it can lead to a number of issues including trouble eating and swallowing, stomach pain and vomiting, constipation and fecal incontinence. Our team of pediatric digestive health experts work collaboratively with other physicians, such as allergy/immunology, urology and ENT specialists, to diagnose and treat children with a variety of GI motility issues.

Nutritional Disorders Affect Growth and Development

Nutritional disorders including vitamin deficiency and malnutrition, can occur at almost any age but are most common in babies and young children. Specialists at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s diagnose and treat infants, children and adolescents with a wide range of nutritional disorders that can significantly affect growth and development. Our registered dietitians help educate patients and their families on dietary needs and how to improve nutritional intake.

Pancreatic Disorder Treatment to Improve Digestion

The pancreas is also important to digestion. It produces enzymes that help break down food and insulin to control sugar levels in the body. Conditions such as pancreatitis, acute and chronic, are the most common pancreatic diseases in children. In a recent study, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s researchers found an increase in cases of acute pancreatitis in hospitalized children. Our team continues ongoing research to ensure we can offer our patients the most effective treatments available.

Short Bowel Syndrome Treatments Available

Short Bowel Syndrome typically occurs in children who have had part of their small intestines removed. The shortened length limits the amount of nutrients and water that can be absorbed by the body, causing diarrhea and malnutrition. UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s offers a range of services, including endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, to help treat children with Short Bowel Syndrome.