Pediatric functional gastrointestinal (GI) and motility disorders are not pleasant to think about, or to treat, or to live with. But usually, with correct diagnosis and proper treatment, they are manageable. For parents or care givers of children with illness four questions are paramount:
- What is wrong?
- Is it dangerous?
- Will it go away?
- What can we do?
Treatment of children and adolescents with functional gastrointestinal disorders often involves a team approach. This includes not only the doctor and patient, but also family members, and other therapists such as dieticians or counselors.
The symptoms of functional GI disorders in kids and teens will range from mild to moderate to severe. Treatments will range as well. A combination of medical, dietary, and emotional or behavioral support may be most helpful in helping manage symptoms and daily life challenges. Treatment often begins with explanations from the doctor about the nature and causes of the disorder, dietary modifications, and a discussion of factors that might bring on or make symptoms worse. Medications may be used for specific symptoms, such as constipation or pain. Counseling may help in dealing with social and school challenges caused by their disorder.
Gastrointestinal motility is defined by the movements of the digestive system, and the transit of the contents within it. When nerves or muscles in any portion of the digestive tract do not function in a strong coordinated fashion, a person develops symptoms related to motility problems. These symptoms may range from heartburn to constipation. Other symptoms may also include abdominal distention, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Treatment of GI motility disorders may include medical, nutritional, and surgical options. The goals are to promote normal growth and development, and improve motility.
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