The health of a child is important inside and out starting with what they eat and how their bodies digest food. Thousands of children in our community face gastrointestinal (GI) and
nutritional disorders each year, and it’s important that parents understand the symptoms their children may be exhibiting and where to go for help. Texas Children’s Hospital has one of the largest nationally recognized GI programs (#4 in the nation according to U.S.News & World Report) and now, the West Houston community has more convenient access to these experts and specialists.
Now open at I-10 and Barker Cypress, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus houses 19 subspecialty outpatient clinics, inpatient hospital services and the only 24/7 dedicated pediatric emergency center in the West Houston area.
Experts: Drs. Daniel Leung and Barbara Reid.
Q: What is gastroenterology?
A pediatric gastroenterologist is a subspecialist who focuses on the evaluation and treatment of children of all ages who may have diseases or abnormal function of their digestive organs including the liver, esophagus, stomach, pancreas and intestines.
Q: What common GI issues does the clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus treat?
We care for and treat children with a myriad of intestinal, liver and nutritional disorders. These can include anything from chronic diarrhea, bloody stools, constipation, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), peptic ulcers, jaundice, and obesity to a variety of congenital and acquired liver disorders. For more information about the nutritionists and gastroenterologists at the Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus clinic, visit westcampus.texaschildrens.org or call 832-227-1440.
Q: What types of procedures do pediatric gastroenterologists perform?
The most common procedures we perform are upper endoscopies, colonoscopies, removal of polyps and liver biopsies, as well as numerous diagnostic tests. Breakthrough video and bluetooth technology also allows patients to swallow a camera capsule that can take up to eight hours of video as it transits through the GI tract. These tests help diagnose and evaluate conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, hepatitis and polyps.
Q: What is celiac disease?
This is a life-long gluten intolerance that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents the absorption of food nutrients that are important for keeping children healthy. Wheat, flour, barley and rye are examples of gluten. For these children, we recommend a gluten-free diet to resolve the symptoms and achieve catch-up growth. The nutritionists at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus can help you and your child identify what foods should be omitted and what they can be replaced with.
Q: How can I tell if my child is allergic to certain foods?
A food allergy is an abnormal response to certain foods or food groups. It is important to pay attention to your child while they are eating to identify any potential reactions they may have (i.e. hives, diarrhea, abdominal pain, blood in stool, etc.). Your child may also simply have a food intolerance, which does not affect the immune system. Your child’s pediatrician can help you with more information on food allergies or you can ask to be referred to a pediatric specialist.
Q: Can children get heartburn?
Yes. According to the American Journal of Medicine, symptoms related to GERD occur in 2 to 22 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 18. GERD occurs most commonly when acid and food flow back up from the stomach into the esophagus which can damage the lining of the esophagus. Non-acid reflux can also cause similar symptoms. Fortunately, pediatric GERD can be detected and treated safely during childhood.
Q: What do I do if my child is constipated?
The most common treatments for constipation include making sure that your child is eating enough fiber and exercising regularly. Scheduled toilet sitting time a minimum of three times per day is often recommended for children who are often easily distractible. Stool softeners, lubricants and stimulants may be helpful depending on the severity of constipation. If your child experiences soiling, blood in stool or significant pain or distress from his/her constipation, contact your pediatrician for a referral to see us.
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