Gastrointestinal problems in teenagers are relatively common and may be caused by any number of reasons. These problems and symptoms range from mildly irritating to disabling, and can impact on teenagers lives making school, study, sport, play or social life difficult. Some symptoms can simply be the result of poor food choices and patterns, anxiety or emotional distress and some may be the result of an underlying condition which needs medical attention. Eating a well balanced diet can alleviate many common symptoms, such as indigestion, reflux, diarrhoea or nausea. Chewing foods well and taking time over eating aids digestion and comfort, and these measures should be the first approach to deal with these common teenage tummy troubles.
The physiological, hormonal and emotional changes during puberty and teens can mean that some foods may not agree with them as before. Food allergy and intolerance can emerge in teens and can cause a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms which may become more troublesome. Some weight loss is usual with an episode of tummy trouble, but if this is persistent and difficult to manage do seek medical or dietetic advice.
Gastrointestinal problems in teenagers can cause embarrassment and be difficult to talk about, in particular when relating to bodily functions. Teens may also be reluctant to discuss personal dietary choices and activities with parents, and reject dietary advice to alleviate symptoms. Reassure your teen that an understanding of what goes into the body can help what happens in the body and what comes out the other end.
Appointments are available in my teenage nutrition clinic for dietary advice and management for teens with established gastrointestinal problems. Dietary assessment helps determine underlying food related causes and forms the basis on which to provide dietary advice.