Pediatric digestive health care at Dell Children's
Stomachaches and digestive conditions can be painful, and keep your child from enjoying school and everyday activities. If your child is having ongoing abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, weight loss or problems gaining weight, bloating, swallowing problems or trouble eating, start by talking with your child’s pediatrician. Sometimes, these can be signs of a more severe condition that needs diagnosis and treatment by a pediatric gastroenterologist (GI doctor). If your child needs more advanced care, pediatric GI doctors from Dell Children’s provide care at clinics throughout Austin and Central Texas.
Care for digestive health conditions
Experienced pediatric GI doctors at Dell Children’s are specially trained in diagnosing and caring for infants, children and teens with GI diseases and disorders. Our goal is to determine the cause of your child’s symptoms and develop a care plan that helps provide relief.
When you choose Dell Children’s, your family is connected to a team of doctors who are dedicated to caring for children. Your child’s care team may include GI doctors, hepatologists (liver doctors), nurses, dietitians, speech and feeding specialists, child life specialists and social workers. Pediatric psychologists and other mental health professionals are part of your child’s care team when needed. We start by listening to you and your child. Then, we create a personalized care plan that’s right for your child and family.
Experienced doctors at Dell Children’s care for all digestive system disease and conditions, including:
Gastrointestinal diseasesYour doctor at Dell Children’s treats children for many of the most common and rare GI conditions, such as:
- Celiac disease (immune reaction to eating gluten)
- Crohn’s disease
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome
- Cystic fibrosis
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) (allergic reaction in the esophagus)
- Esophageal dysmotility including achalasia (swallowing disorder)
- Esophageal atresia (EA)
- Esophageal stricture (narrowing of the esophagus)
- Failure to thrive (lower than average weight gain)
- Fecal incontinence (encopresis)
- Gallbladder disease (gallstones, poor function)
- Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
- Gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying)
- Hirschsprung’s disease Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- Lactose intolerance
- Pancreatitis, acute and chronic
- Pancreatic insufficiency
- Polyps (like juvenile polyps, familial adenomatous polyposis and Peutz Jeghers syndrome)
- Protein-losing enteropathy
- Rumination syndrome
- Short bowel syndrome, including intestinal failure
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF)
- Ulcerative colitis
- Ulcers of the stomach and duodenum
Your doctor at Dell Children’s treats children for many of the most common and rare liver conditions, such as:
- Biliary atresia (blockage in the bile duct)
- Hepatitis (chronic inflammation of the liver)
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis (bile duct disease)
- Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (genetic condition that causes liver disease)
- Choledochal cyst
- Bile duct disorders PFIC (progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis)
- Disorders of bile salt metabolism
Diagnostic testing and procedures
At your child’s first visit, we listen to your concerns and discuss your child’s health history. Then, your child will have a physical exam. Your child’s doctor may also recommend diagnostic tests, such as endoscopy, colonoscopy, blood tests, stool tests, urine tests, breath tests, X-ray, ultrasound, CT scans, MRIs, and more. Working with our GI doctor who specializes in pediatric neurogastroenterology, we also provide esophageal manometry, a swallowing test that measures the muscle movement (motility) of the esophagus.
Your doctor explains your child’s diagnosis and procedures, answers your questions and works with you to create a personalized care plan. Many care plans include a combination of diet changes or medication, as well as treatments including surgery.
Advanced treatments and surgical care
Whenever possible, pediatric GI doctors use therapeutic or minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat conditions.
Infusion therapy: For some conditions, infusion therapy may be needed. We have specially trained infusion nurses who help make your child comfortable. And with two infusion clinic locations, we make infusion therapy convenient for families in Central Texas.
Minimally invasive procedures: Many procedures can be performed using non-surgical, minimally invasive techniques. With this type of procedure, your child may have a shorter recovery. These procedures include endoscopy, colonoscopy, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), biopsy, polypectomy (polyp removal), dilatation of strictures and more.
Procedures: If procedures are recommended as part of your child’s care plan, have confidence knowing you are connected to the highest level of pediatric surgical care at Dell Children's Level I Pediatric Surgery Center. Pediatric anesthesiologists are part of our care team and specialize in anesthesia for even the tiniest patients. And child life specialists help make your child feel calm and comfortable before surgery. We take the time to explain the procedure to you and to your child in a way they understand. Knowing what to expect can help reduce stress.
Multidisciplinary care for GI conditions
Our pediatric gastroenterologists work with many different specialists at Dell Children’s to provide comprehensive care for complex conditions. These multispecialty teams include:
- Aerodigestive program
- Chronic abdominal pain program
- Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Center
- Cystic fibrosis clinic
- Eosinophilic esophagitis program
- Intestinal rehabilitation
- Inflammatory bowel disease program
- Neurogastroenterology program
- Rumination clinic
- Speech feeding program
Advanced care for aerodigestive conditions
Some conditions, such as airway, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, may require care from several different specialists. The Aerodigestive Program at Dell Children’s Medical Center brings together a multispecialty team of pediatric otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors), pediatric pulmonologists (lung doctors), pediatric GI doctors, dietitians, speech therapists, respiratory therapists and more. Together, we deliver care for children with complex airway, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders. At Dell Children’s, you’ll be connected to all the care your child needs.
Specializing in the connection between mental and GI health
At Dell Children’s, we care for the whole child – physical and emotional health. Sometimes, mental and emotional health can affect gut health, in what is known as the brain-gut connection. That’s why we have a pediatric psychologist as part of our care team in our clinic. So while your child’s GI doctor is caring for their physical health, their pediatric psychologist cares for your child’s mental health.
Our pediatric psychologist works with children to care for stress and anxiety that may be making GI symptoms such as pain, diarrhea or constipation worse. Your child’s psychologist can teach them about relaxation techniques and other tools they can use to help reduce stress and anxiety. Many times, when a child is better able to cope, their GI symptoms may be reduced.