While it is normal for children to have indigestion or stomach ache once in a while, if this becomes a recurrent thing and happens often, you should consult a doctor. Nowadays, with the unhealthy diet that most children have and all the junk and processed food that they eat, they are bound to have digestive disorders. It is very important that children get their nutrients and vitamins from each and every food group and in the right quantity. There are a number of digestive disorders found in children, and while their causes are all different, their symptoms are very similar – nausea, stomach ache, vomiting, dehydration and diarrhoea.
Some of the most common digestive disorders found in children are:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – This disorder is mainly found in older children in their teens. There are two types of IBD which are:
- Ulcerative colitis – This condition is caused due to swelling in the colon
- Crohn’s disease – Under this condition, all parts of digestive tract can be affected.
IBD delays puberty and affects the child’s growth. Some of the minor symptoms of IBD include bloody and watery faeces, and stomach pains. Some of the major symptoms are joint pain, irritation in the eyes, kidney stones, liver disease, and weak or fragile bones. The treatment usually recommended by doctors is a change of diet to a healthier and more nutritious alternative, accompanied by some oral medicines. This will ensure that the symptoms go away, and will also prevent them from recurring.
- Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGID) – It is the most common digestive disorder found in children. It is caused due to the excess of white blood cells found in the digestive tract that causes inflammation and swelling leading to pain and discomfort while swallowing. There is no specific treatment for EGID but doctors may recommend steroids that would help in reducing your white blood cell count. In severe cases, you may have to use a feeding tube.
- Celiac Disease – This disorder is found in children who have a negative reaction to gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley and rye. In other words, children with this disorder are allergic to gluten, and thus cannot eat foods that have flour in them. In celiac diseases, the small intestine is damaged, preventing the body from absorbing any nutrient from the food you eat. The best treatment is to cut out gluten from your child’s diet completely. This will not only help him/her feel better, but also help heal all the previous internal damage done by gluten.
- Volvulus – This is a very dangerous disorder that requires immediate medical attention. It occurs when the child’s intestines get twisted and tie themselves up, leading to blockage of faeces causing constipation. In some severe cases, the blood supply is also cut off. The only treatment available is surgery, a quick and efficient fix. Children who have got the surgery done are now leading healthy lives with normal growth.
- Short Bowel Syndrome – A child suffering from this condition does not have enough intestine to absorb all the nutrients from the food either because they have a few sections of their intestine missing or they were removed. The main causes of short bowel syndrome is injury to intestine, a blocked vessel causing slow blood flow, intussusception, Crohn’s disease and lastly, cancer. Short Bowel Syndrome causes problems such as dehydration, malnutrition, and diaper rashes, and in severe cases, kidney stones. Diarrhoea is the main symptom of Short Bowel Syndrome.
- Intussusception – This condition is caused when one part of the intestine folds into another part. It is most commonly found in younger children. The cause for intussusception is still unknown but symptoms include fatigue, swelling, pain and sometimes even tears in the intestine. Surgery is an option for treatment when the case of intussusception is severe, but it very rarely comes to that. Usually, treatment can be done through a simple air or liquid enema in order to push back the part of the intestine that is overlapping.