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MetroHealth pediatric gastroenterologists are adept at diagnosing the conditions that can affect a child's stomach—even if the child doesn't have the ability to explain his or her symptoms.
Children can struggle with a wide array of illnesses that attack the digestive system, including:
- Acute hepatitis
- Carbohydrate intolerances, such as lactose intolerance and dietary fructose intolerance
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic hepatitis B and C
- Chronic vomiting
- Celiac disease
- Dysphagia (swallowing problems)
- Eosinophilic esophagitis
- Fatty liver disease
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Helicobacter pylori gastritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- Liver diseases, such as biliary atresia and alpha1 antitrypsin deficiency
- Malabsorption syndromes
- Portal hypertension
Some of these conditions can impact both adults and children. When they begin in childhood, these conditions often require a sophisticated and targeted treatment approach. For example, both children and adults can develop IBD. However, pediatric IBD tends to be more severe and aggressive. Liver conditions in children can move swiftly and cause more complications. Working with a pediatric gastroenterologist can make all the difference. These professionals have years of training in the pediatric manifestations of disease, and they are in the best position to help your child feel better and heal.
Gastroenterology Testing and AssessmentsPediatric gastroenterology appointments begin with interviews. We ask children and their parents to describe the symptoms they've seen, the length of the illness, the home remedies tried and family history of similar illnesses. We then perform an exam of the child, and look over the testing results and medical notes from other doctors the child has seen. Those steps give us a great deal of information about a child's health and disease status. To accurately diagnose and provide treatment, we offer diagnostic procedures, including:
- Anorectal manometry
- Breath tests for carbohydrate intolerance, small-bowel bacterial overgrowth and H. pylori
- Capsule endoscopy (PillCam)
- Esophageal pH and impedance testing over 24 hours
- Upper endoscopy
The names of these tests might not be familiar to you or your child, but your gastroenterologist will explain what these tests are and how they work before they are scheduled. You'll know just how to prepare your child and what to expect from the test before it begins, and ask questions about your child's care at any time. Medications, lifestyle changes, dietary changes and surgical procedures might all be part of the treatment plan for children, and we offer these therapies at MetroHealth.
We also monitor children on an ongoing basis so that we can ensure the therapies continue to work, even as a child grows and his/her body changes. Pediatric primary care doctors at MetroHealth are an important part of your child's treatment team, and our gastroenterologists share information with pediatricians on a regular basis, to ensure continuity of care.