A pediatric gastroenterologist diagnoses and treats diseases and symptoms affecting the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, and pancreas. Training consists of:
- 4 years of medical school
- 3 years of pediatric residency
- 3+ years of additional training in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition, including medical research and treatment of infants, children, and teens with digestive, liver, and nutritional disorders
Pediatric gastroenterologists also have certification in pediatrics from the American Board of Pediatrics and in gastroenterology and nutrition from the American Board of Pediatrics Sub-board in Pediatric Gastroenterology.
Children with gastrointestinal health issues have different needs than adults. Good digestive health is important at any age, but it is especially important for children to ensure they grow and develop properly. Plus, digestive, liver, and nutritional problems in children are typically quite different from those seen in adults.
A pediatrician may refer to a pediatric gastroenterologist for acute symptoms of abdominal pain, reflux, or bowel issues such as constipation or diarrhea, to name some. The specialist utilizes complex diagnostic tests, including examining the inside of the digestive tract, obtaining tissue samples, and viewing internal organs.
Conditions that a pediatric gastroenterologist might treat include:
- Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic diarrhea
- Peptic ulcer disease
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome
- Celiac disease
- Pancreatic issues
- Food allergies/intolerances
- Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)
- Nutritional problems and feeding disorders