Gastrointestinal problems in childhood are not uncommon with infants and young children typically experiencing several infections in the first two years of life. Increased exposure to swallowed bacteria and viruses, close proximity to other young children in nurseries and the developing immune system all contribute to increased infections. This is an necessary part of normal gut immune system development.
Unpleasant symptoms such as diarrhoea reduce the appetite in the short term, which usually go back to normal within a few of days. Some infants and young children are more susceptible to gastrointestinal infections and dietary intake can become problematic. Some particularly nasty infections have longer lasting effects such as lactose intolerance, or leave young children with behavioural issues leading to food refusal.
Persistent gastrointestinal problems in childhood with a poor appetite and/or growth faltering may indicate an underlying medical problem. You should discuss in the first instance with your GP. A referral to see a Paediatric Gastroenterologist may be indicated.
Food allergy or intolerance may be related with symptoms such as diarrhoea, constipation, gastro-oesophageal reflux, indigestion and abdominal pain.
Appointments are available in my paediatric nutrition clinic for dietary advice and management for children with established gastrointestinal problems. Dietary assessment helps determine underlying food related causes and forms the basis on which to provide dietary advice.