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Digestive Health

Diagnosis & Treatment of Gastrointestinal (GI) Disorders

Gastroenterologists work with issues and diseases in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Problems in the GI tract have complex physical, emotional and nutritional outcomes. The most common diseases types in GI for kids are Crohn's disease, celiac disease, bulimia, anorexia, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and food allergies.

Sometimes your child's stomach ache is something more and you will need to visit a gastrointestinal specialist. The GI staff at East Tennessee Children's Hospital in Knoxville, TN knows what signs and symptoms to look for if your child's pain is more serious.

East Tennessee Children's Hospital Digestive HealthWhat to Expect During Your Visit

At your first visit, the gastrointestinal, or GI doctor will talk about your child's medical history with you. They will be trying to determine if your child has experienced any of the following:

  • Uncontrolled weight loss
  • Late puberty
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Unexplained fever
  • Family history of inflammatory bowel disease

The doctor will also do a physical exam. They will look for tenderness, fullness beneath the skin or organ enlargement. Further tests may include abdominal CT scans, ultrasounds, endoscopy 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.

Endoscopy Suite

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.

Transitions & Therapy

Many GI disorders can cause frequent pain and embarrassing symptoms. These sometimes lead to social withdrawal and avoiding school. Psychological illnesses can also be the cause of problems in GI for kids. Eating disorders and elimination disorders lead to the physical problems that our GI doctors treat.

At East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, we want to do more than treat the symptoms, we want help our patients in every way we can.

Our therapists can help your child with:

  • Accepting illness
  • Living with illness
  • Managing chronic diseases
  • Anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Eating disorders

Meeting with a Dietitian

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. You may need to see a dietitian if your child has the following:

  • Obesity
  • Celiac disease or gluten intolerance
  • Food allergies
  • Failure to thrive
  • Constipation or diarrhea

A dietitian will review your child's medical records, measure their 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 dietitian will help you create a food plan for your child based on medical needs, lifestyle and food preferences.

Our Committed Gastroenterology Team

At East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, every member of our staff is passionate about helping children and families. Our gastroenterology team doesn’t just focus on the patient’s condition, they look after the mental and physical concerns of our patients so they can help them live happier and healthier.

Related Locations

  • GI for Kids
    GI for Kids


    1975 Town Center Blvd
    Knoxville, TN 37922