The process of diagnosing and treating children differs from adults. For example, children can't always verbalize their symptoms. Pediatric gastroenterologists have been trained to examine children and make them feel comfortable. This specialist focuses on treating children suffering from such symptoms as constipation, diarrhea, gallstones, vomiting, inadequate weight gain, abdominal pain and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common health problems treated by gastroenterologists. Other common health problems, especially in older children, are excessive diarrhea, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Irritable bowel syndrome starts with irritation of the stomach lining and the small intestine, which causes uncomfortable digestion. Crohn's disease is similar to irritable bowel syndrome except that it also may affect the large intestine.
Lactose intolerance is the most common gastroenterology health problem for infants and can cause stomach pain, gas and diarrhea. Lactose is a sugar found in dairy products, infant formulas and breast milk. A gastroenterologist can suggest different formulas that offer the same nutritional benefits without the lactose as well as medications to relieve the symptoms.