Irritable Bowel Diseases

Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a condition where the body has gluten intolerance (an important component of wheat and other grains). Children suffering from celiac disease cannot tolerate having gluten in their digestive systems; gluten causes the body to attack itself (particularly the digestive system). Celiac may be a hereditary disease, but it is not contagious. It usually appears at a relatively young age, diagnosed after the child exhibits symptoms such as a swollen stomach, diarrhea, stomach ache and weight loss. If the disease is diagnosed at an older age, symptoms include vitamin deficiency and anemia.

Celiac is diagnosed after a blood test and a biopsy.

There is no medication treatment for celiac disease, and celiacs must change their diet. Products containing flour with gluten must be avoided. There are alternative types of flour that do not contain gluten.

Irritable Bowel Diseases
Irritable Bowel Diseases (IBDs) are chronic diseases that affect a person for their entire life. They are manageable with the help of drugs and treatments. The most common forms of IBDs are Crohn's Disease and Colitis. Both of these diseases are types of infections affecting the internal layer of the intestines. In order to diagnose these diseases, gastroenterologists will conduct lab tests to examine the bowels.

Crohn’s Disease can affect any part of the digestive system and involve any or all of the intestinal layers.

Colitis Disease only affects (harms) the superficial layer of the colon.

The reason behind these diseases is not clear, but the accepted theory is that the immune system and other genetic factors have a hand in causing the disease. They are not contagious. There are no known cures however; there have been much advancement in the treatment options available. The treatments dramatically improve the symptoms and can even get rid of them for a period – remission. There are cases where the child will experience weight loss and his body will be unable to absorb vitamins and minerals. Diet changes are necessary to prevent disease outbreaks and to help the body rehabilitate itself. It is important to consult with a dietician.

The most common tests for gastroenterology problems are gastroscopy, endoscopy, colonoscopy and biopsy. Gastroscopies, endoscopies and colonoscopies are tests that allow gastroenterologists to see what is going on in your child’s digestive system. A biopsy (sample-taking) can give doctors a better perspective of the disease and thus prescribe the most efficient way to treat it. During these tests, your child will be under anesthesia. The test is not painful, but may be accompanied by discomfort.