Gastroenterologists work with issues and diseases in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This body part is where food is digested. Problems in the GI tract have complex physical, emotional and nutritional outcomes. GI doctors work with therapists, dieticians and other doctors.
Some of the most common GI diseases are:
Sometimes your child's stomach ache is something more and you will need to visit a Gastrointestinal specialist. Children's Hospital's GI staff knows what signs and symptoms to look for if your child's pain is more serious.
At your first visit, the GI doctor will talk about your child's medical history with you. He is looking for alarm symptoms like:
The doctor will also do a physical exam. He will look for tenderness, fullness beneath the skin or organ enlargement. Further tests may include abdominal CT scans, ultrasounds or MRIs at Children's Hospital.
If your child has sharp stomach pain then vomits, the problem may be more serious than a visit to the GI doctor. Causes for sharp stomach pain can include appendicitis or intestinal obstruction or perforation. You may need to go to the Emergency Department.
East Tennessee Children's Hospital has one of the few stand-alone endoscopy suites in the country just for children. This means that we can to perform endoscopies on site.
These tests allow doctors to put a camera through the digestive system and find the source of many GI issues.
Many GI disorders can cause frequent pain and embarrassing symptoms. These sometimes lead to social withdrawal and avoiding school. Also, many psychological illnesses can be the cause of GI problems. Eating disorders and elimination disorders lead to the physical problems that our GI doctors treat. The Children's Hospital GI Department is home to Transitions, a behavior health center for children. Therapists can help your child with:
After your appointment, your child may need a new diet for recovery and good health. Many medical problems improve quickly with changes in food habit and nutrition. Schedule an appointment with one of Children's Hospital's registered dieticians if you have not visited the GI Department yet and your child is having one of these problems:
Our dietician will review your child's medical records, measure his weight and height and discuss the three day food diary you will create before the appointment. This diary includes what food and drink was consumed, when and how much. The dietician will help you create a food plan for your child based on medical needs, lifestyle and food preferences. The appointment usually takes one hour.