When to Consult a Pediatric Gastroenterologist


When considering the type of patient who would most likely seek care for a gastric issue, we usually think of a full-grown adult or an individual of elder age. Despite the fact that age is a common risk factor for some digestive health problems, children aren't immune to gastrointestinal (GI) issues — and might potentially be more at risk for specific GI problems.

In the event your child experiences a pediatric digestive condition, the specialists at GI Alliance of Illinois can help improve their health. Keep reading to learn more about these conditions and when you should request an appointment with a local pediatric gastroenterologist.

How does a child's GI system differ from a mature adult’s?

Like other systems in the body, the GI system requires some time to develop after birth. Gastrointestinal issues in infants are quite typical when they're in this stage of development. For instance, the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle at the lowest part of the esophagus that prevents stomach acid from regurgitating, is typically not well-developed in babies, triggering problems with acid reflux.

As adequate nourishment is strongly linked to a child's proper development and growth, it's strongly recommended that you request a consultation with a pediatric gastroenterologist if you suspect your child is experiencing gastrointestinal issues. Pediatric gastro conditions are more commonplace than you might envision, with some even beginning at birth.

Which pediatric digestive complications are most common?

Although children might be impacted by a number of similar digestive issues that are typical in older people, certain kinds are more likely than others. Some of the more common problems involve:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Gastroesophageal reflux disease describes inflammation and scarring in the esophagus brought on by recurrent acid reflux. This condition is extremely common in infants and newborns and is typically indicated by vomiting, hiccups, gagging, and a reluctance to eat.
  • Food intolerances: Food intolerances in kids often include lactose intolerance (trouble digesting milk products) and celiac disease (an autoimmune adverse reaction to gluten that damages the duodenum, or small intestine).
  • Constipation: This involves difficulty passing stools.
  • Abdominal pain: A number of minor GI symptoms (like gas) will resolve on their own over time. However, persistent or excessive discomfort should warrant a visit with a pediatric gastroenterologist provider.
  • CVS (cyclic vomiting syndrome): A condition generally affecting kids, CVS causes excessive vomiting incidents that occur in a series.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): IBD includes digestive issues like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

It's important to address GI troubles in infants and toddlers, as these conditions might inhibit the child's capacity to absorb the nutrients they require to mature in a healthy manner. The providers at GI Alliance of Illinois can help you and your family understand these GI conditions and determine the ideal treatment method.

When should I bring my child to a pediatric GI specialist?

It's better to be proactive when it comes to any health issues. Even a common issue, like diarrhea, may indicate a larger health concern when it occurs often. There are a few distinct signs and symptoms that warrant visiting a pediatric GI specialist regardless of frequency:

  • A lag in or increase in growth even when getting plenty of food
  • Blood in the stool
  • Recurrent vomiting or blood present in vomit
  • Persistent constipation or diarrhea

In the event you observe some of the complications listed here, please request an appointment with a gastrointestinal specialist promptly.

Find trusted pediatric GI treatment in Illinois

At GI Alliance of Illinois, our gastrointestinal specialists treat an assortment of GI disorders and are devoted to helping patients thrive. If you are concerned about your child's digestive health and are in search of a pediatric gastroenterologist in Illinois, our team may be able to help guide you toward the care your family needs.