Most of you would be familiar with what digestion is. In biological terms, it is the process by which complex food molecules are broken down into simpler elements thus making its vital components available to be used by our body. Though it sounds simple, any malfunction of this process may result in mild or major digestive problems in children. Children are more susceptible to these issues because their digestive system is relatively less developed.
Common Digestive Problems in Children
Most common reasons behind digestive problems in children are the intake of mal nutritious food, unhealthy eating habits, infections and the intake of toxins, etc. some of the most common digestive problems in children include the following:
Diarrhea is one of the most common digestive problems in children. Its major causes are bacteria or viruses. It can also appear as a symptom of some other undiagnosed digestive disease. The symptoms of diarrhea include watery stool 3 or more times a day, dehydration, abdominal pain, bloating and nausea, etc. if diarrhea is of acute nature, it lasts 2 or three days. However, if the child suffers from chronic diarrhea, it may be severer and lasts for many days. The treatment includes an increased intake of re-hydrated food to cope with water loss from the body, and avoiding all such food items which cause stomach irritation.
It is a condition which is characterized by an abnormal or infrequent bowel movement. The disorder is essentially characterized by hard stool. The major causes of this kind of digestive problems in children include lack of fiber-rich ingredients in food, stool withholding, and side effects of medicines. The disorder can be treated by including fiber-rich items in a child’s food.
Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD):
It is characterized by the backflow of acids from the stomach into the esophagus, thus causing a lot of irritation. The backflow of acid in small quantity is not a major problem and occurs both in children and adults; however, if it is characterized by huge and frequent backflows, the lining of the esophagus may get damaged, causing great discomfort. The symptoms include; heartburn, sore throat, nausea, difficulty in swallowing, wheezing and vomiting. Treatment is different for different levels of severity. Some times it may be cured by taking a GERD diet, while in other cases it requires medication to control acid production.
Cyclic Vomiting syndrome:
This type of digestive problems in children is characterized by a sudden outburst of vomiting which may last for a few hours or even a few days. It recurs after short whiles with the same duration and characteristics. The underlying cause is still not known. It is treated by medication to stop vomiting and nausea along with some rest and proper sleep.
Irritable Bowl Syndrome:
This Digestive disease in children is accompanied by abnormal functioning of the bowl. The intestine fails to contract normally in order to facilitate normal bowel movement. It results in diarrhea and constipation following each other alternately. The intestine becomes highly sensitive to gas, resulting in abdominal pain, cramps and bloating, etc. though it cannot be completely cured in children, one can get rid of symptoms through proper dietary changes and medicines.
Common Digestive Problems in Infants
The common digestive problems in infants include, food allergies, colic, acid reflux and intolerance to lactose.
Colic is mostly seen in babies below the age of 3 months. It takes place in babies with extraordinary sensitivity towards intestinal gas. It causes the baby to cry for several hours and especially in the evening. The noticeable symptoms when baby cries include: tensed legs drawn towards the body, swollen abdomen, face turns red and hands clenched.
The acid reflux in infants is mainly a result of excessive drinking of milk or drinking too fast. However, it may also be caused sometimes due to excessive crying or coughing. It is accompanied by frequent spitting, lack of appetite and irritability. Changing feeding techniques and baby’s habits can help overcome such problems.
Some infants lack the enzyme responsible for digesting lactose present in milk. As a result, they face problems like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain every time they consume dairy products.
Some infants develop allergies for some food items like milk, peanuts, soy products, etc. so whenever they intake these products, they suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps and so on. Food allergies and food intolerance is usually carried throughout life and only solution is to avoid such food items.
As mentioned, most of the digestive problems in children are curable through proper diet and medication, but it is advisable to consult a doctor before using any home remedy.