Gastrointestinal disorders


Paediatric gastrointestinal disorders

Gastrointestinal problems are common in children. Nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea and abdominal pain are prevalent signs of gastrointestinal disorders. However, common these disorders are, a thorough diagnosis is first considered to prevent severe symptoms of dehydration.

What’s gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis can be caused by an infection of the bowels. It’s crucial to seek immediate medical care as soon as your baby under six months of age vomits or becomes nauseous.

What are the signs of gastroenteritis in children?

Runny, watery stools are the first sign of gastroenteritis in children.

Other signs of gastroenteritis include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
What does the diagnosis involve?

Because gastroenteritis is spread as a result of contact with contaminated surfaces and items like toys or clothes, tracing your child’s whereabouts is essential to determine where the infection occurred. Your paediatrician needs to evaluate and tailor your child's diet. Unpasteurised milk, unclean vegetables contribute to gastroenteritis.

What does treatment involve?

Symptoms of mild gastroenteritis subside over time. However, your child must receive plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Children shouldn’t return to school until their diarrhoea has gradually subsided, and their appetite has improved.

However, for severe gastroenteritis that’s a result of an intestinal parasite, Dr Vahed prescribes antimicrobial medication.

What’s a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria infiltrate the bladder and kidneys. Although it may seem unusual, urinary tract infections in children are common. Babies who contract urinary tract infections become irritable, urinate frequently and suffer abdominal pain. Cystitis is a urinary tract infection that affects the lower region of the urinary tract, the urethra and bladder. But an infection that migrates from the ureters to the kidneys is known as pyelonephritis and is usually more severe.

What are the signs of a urinary tract infection?

If your child has a urinary tract infection, he or she will experience the following symptoms:

  • An urge to urinate all the time
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • High fever
  • Cloudy urine
  • Traces of blood in the urine
  • Abdominal pain
What does the diagnosis involve?

Urine testing is essential to diagnose UTIs in children. Usually, older children are asked to urinate in a sterile cup for urinalysis. But for children who are still in diapers, a catheter is a viable option for urine extraction. A slender tube known as a catheter is gently inserted into the urethra and bladder to receive a sterile urine sample for analysis.

What does treatment involve?

Once lab tests confirm the bacteria that are responsible for the urinary tract infection, Dr Vahed prescribes antibiotics to fight off the infection. Symptoms of the UTI should subside three days after antibiotic treatment. It’s vital to monitor your child’s progress during this time and keep track of his or her diet. Children must drink lots of fluids and avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and ice tea. Dr Vahed also prescribes medication to deaden the urinary tract lining and relieve pain from a UTI. An ultrasound may be warranted if an infection is confirmed to check for any abnormalities in the bladder and kidney system.

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