Pediatric Digestive Disorders

MaineHealth pediatricians and gastroenteraologists are experts in diagnosing and treating pediatric digestive disorders.

What are pediatric digestive disorders?

A digestive disorder is a health problem of the gastrointestinal system. These disorders can get in the way of day-to-day functioning and can affect child development. MaineHealth pediatricians and gastroenteraologists care for children with a wide range of digestive disorders such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Celiac disease
  • Colitis
  • Constipation
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Esophagitis
  • Feeding problems, or failure to thrive
  • Food allergies
  • Gallbladder diseases
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Gastroparesis
  • GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Hirshsprung’s disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Intestinal pseudo-obstruction
  • Liver disease
  • Motility disorders
  • Pancreatic diseases
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Polyps
  • Obesity
  • Short bowel syndrome

Signs and symptoms of digestive disorders can include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloating in the belly
  • Bleeding
  • Problems with appetite

Talk to your doctor if you are worried that your child has a digestive disorder.

How are digestive disorders found?

Your child’s pediatrician or family healthcare provider can help diagnose and treat digestive problems. Your child’s doctor also may refer you to a pediatric gastroenterologist - a specialist who has extra training in the diagnosis and treatment of digestive disorders in children. He or she may order tests to help diagnose a digestive disorder. Tests for digestive problems can include:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Upper GI endoscopy
  • Capsule endoscopy
  • Ultrasound
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Biopsy
  • Blood tests
  • CT scan

How are digestive disorders treated?

Treatment depends on the diagnosis, but options include:

  • Nutrition counseling and dietary changes
  • Medication
  • Surgery
  • Swallowing therapy

Medical programs and resources for digestive disorders

At MaineHealth, we offer specialty care for children with digestive orders through Maine Medical Partners – Pediatric Specialty Care and The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital:

  • Aerodigestive Clinic for problems of the airway, lungs and GI tract
  • Pediatric Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital
  • Countdown to a Healthy ME Program - for families that are concerned about their child’s weight and health