Perhaps the hardest part of being a parent is occasionally having to watch your son or daughter fall ill. Worse yet is when the pain or discomfort is chronic and you can’t pinpoint the cause. By keeping track of symptoms, though, you can determine when an issue is serious enough to see a doctor.
Here are some of the signs that your child might have a GI disorder that requires care from a specialist.
Irregular Bowel Movements
If your child has recurring constipation or diarrhea, it could be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, passing mucus – which lines the GI tract – could be another symptom of IBS in children, so it may be helpful to talk to your child about what this might look like so they can inform you if it occurs. Constipation or diarrhea that lasts more than a week or becomes severe should be checked out by a doctor.
Abdominal Pain, Cramps, or Bloating
It can be normal for a kid to have the occasional stomachache, but if you find that your son or daughter is complaining often of pain or cramps, or appears bloated without a direct cause, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor. These could be symptoms of IBS, IBD, or other gastrointestinal issues.
Bloody stool or blood that appears in the toilet bowl or on tissue may be cause for concern. This could be a symptom of ulcerative colitis, IBD, or a number of other conditions. Keep in mind that seeing blood could be alarming for a child, so seek health care but stay calm – it could just be hemorrhoids or a side effect from constipation.
Some gastrointestinal issues can cause a decrease in appetite or a malabsorption of nutrients, leading to weight loss. If you find that your child just isn’t eating certain foods, this could simply be a matter of picky eating. However, if overall appetite is low, it could be a symptom of a larger problem.
Of course, children may feel fatigued for any number of reasons. However, if chronic tiredness appears in conjunction with any of the other aforementioned symptoms, it could be due to gastrointestinal issues. This is because chronic fatigue can be the result of infection, immune issues, or a heightened perception of pain, all of which are associated with IBS and other GI problems.
If you suspect that your son or daughter has a gastrointestinal disorder, give us a call to schedule an appointment with a specialist.