Common Childhood Digestive Disorders: Causes & Treatments

Common Childhood

Having a child who suffers from a digestive disorder can be hard. From delays in diagnosis to the daily struggle of managing chronic symptoms, the journey of a parent dealing with a digestive disorder in their child can be difficult and exhausting. Common digestive disorders in children include Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), Crohn’s disease, constipation, diarrhea and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD is caused by a weak lower esophageal sphincter that allows food, stomach acid and bile to escape back into the esophagus. This can lead to heartburn, chest pain and a sour taste in the mouth. Treatment may involve lifestyle changes, medications, surgery or a combination of treatments. Lifestyle changes include eliminating certain trigger items from the diet, eating smaller meals, avoiding large meals late at night, wearing loose-fitting clothing and sleeping in an upright position, or elevating the head of the bed.

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Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Common symptoms include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding. Treatment includes medications, nutrition therapy, probiotics and lifestyle changes such as exercising and quitting smoking, if applicable. Often times, when medications and lifestyle changes do not work, surgery may be necessary.

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Constipation and Diarrhea

Dehydration is the most common cause of constipation, and can usually be remedied by drinking more fluids and increasing dietary fiber such as grains, vegetables, and fruits. Diarrhea is usually caused by a virus, food poisoning, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is important to stay hydrated, avoid high-fat foods, and get plenty of rest to help manage diarrhea.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that affects the large intestine. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating and gas. Treatment includes dietary changes, medications and stress management. Eliminating foods such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy or fatty foods from the diet may help reduce symptoms.

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No matter what type of digestive disorder your child is dealing with, it is important to seek treatment from a qualified health professional to help manage symptoms. To ensure proper treatment, make sure to make an appointment with a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in digestive disorders, for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Finally, proper nutrition and exercise are essential for a healthy digestive system and overall health.

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