Digestive Problems In Kids – Mitchell Katz, MD
October 10, 2019
While many digestive problems are more common
as people get older they can occur at any age, even in chlidren. We asked Dr. Mitchell
Katz of Children’s Hospital of Orange County about gastrointestinal problems in children. GI complaints are very common and as far what
types, it depends on the age. And in young babies irritability, it’s feeding problems
it’s vomiting or acid reflux that horrible set of letters :colic. And then stooling issues
can also get in the way. As children get older common is the ever present abdominal pain.
And when is it real, when is it organic? When is it what’s called functional, when is it
a child’s just doesn’t want to go to school a child’s got an ulcer or more significant
its substantial bowel problems. Stooling problems are a common issue. Acid reflux is also much
more commonly appreciated now than in the past. We asked Dr. Katz, what are they symptoms?
We look at the common complaints of heart burn or regurgitation bad taste in the mouth.
Thats not as common as some of more subtle signs of acid reflux :recurrent sinus problems,
recurrent wheezing, respiratory symptoms, upper airway abnormalities or something called
recurrent croup. Reoccurring ear infections sometimes can be due to acid reflux disease.
Just simple failure to eat. Our complicating matters is a whole new condition that is confusing
matters and that’s called the eosinophilic esophagitis and it mimics reflux has the same
symptoms of reflux but doesn’t respond as reflux; it’s more allergy based. We try to
define what the child is allergic to in foods. Allergy testing is fraught with challenges
but we try different ways of determining allergies and then putting them on a restricted diet
and seeing if it makes a difference. If it does then we try to hone in on what the particular
food is that is causing or group of foods. When should a parent seek medical help? When
you take a history of abdominal pain you look for certain red flags. For instance, a child
under 4 who is complaining of tummy aches they don’t have the words and they can’t,
they don’t know enough to pull your chain. They are not having a relationship problem,
they’re not having a school problem a kid under the age of 4 who’s complaining of tummy
aches, you got to raise an eyebrow to that. Child who wakes up in the middle of the night
with pain, that’s a little bit more significant than a child who is all day long they’re having
pain; the location where the child is complaining with pain the futher away from the bellybutton
the location the more likely it is to be organic. Associated other symptoms, vomiting diarrhea,
blood anywhere, blood in the poop, blood in the vomit that’s not something you want to
play around with. Other associated symptoms like weight loss, rashes, fever that kind
of thing. Because that tends to give you more of a hint that it’s organicity. And sometimes
and most often it’s just taking a good history. And listening to the parent, and you’ll know
the provider will know. Over 95 million Americans experience some kind of digestive problem.
Children unfortunately are among them and as a parent it’s important to know the symptoms
of gastrointestinal problems. For the American Health Journal, I’m Lora Windsor.