Paediatric Gastroenterology is a sub-specialty of paediatrics focusing on digestive, liver and nutritional problems. Paediatric gastroenterologists have training in paediatrics as well as gastroenterology, and care for children from birth through to late adolescence.
The digestive system is made up of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. It breaks down the food you eat into nutrients. The walls of the small intestine absorb these nutrients into the bloodstream. The blood delivers the nutrients to the rest of the body, where they are used for energy, growth, and cell repair. The colon or the large intestine is the final part of the digestive system. Its function is to reabsorb fluids and process waste products from the body and prepare for its elimination.
Gastrointestinal disorders can involve any part of the GI tract or accessory organs, including the oesophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, small intestine, large intestine and rectum. There are many gastrointestinal disorders that are unique to children and other that occur in both children and adults.
Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID) include a number of separate disorders, which affect different parts of the gastrointestinal tract and involve hypersensitivity and impaired gastrointestinal motility but otherwise normal anatomy, mucosa and function. Functional GI disorders commonly present in children as abdominal pain, constipation or vomiting.
COMMON DISORDERS THAT PAEDIATRIC GASTROENTEROLOGISTS CARE FOR INCLUDE:
Failure to thrive
Inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Peptic Ulcer Disease
Polyps in the colon
Reflux and vomiting
Resources for Parents – Useful Websites & Fact Sheets