Gastrointestinal issues can affect your child's entire wellbeing. When your child struggles with a gastrointestinal (GI) condition, the experts at University of Missouri Health Care are here to work with you and your child to assess him or her and create a customized treatment plan.

MU Health Care Pediatrics Gastroenterology staff

Our team treats a full range of conditions in children related to gastrointestinal, liver and nutritional problems. We take care of children with a variety of GI conditions that affect the esophagus, stomach, large and small intestines, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. Whether your child has a sudden condition or a diagnosis that’s ongoing, like Crohn's disease or severe food allergies, we are here to help you manage the symptoms and treat the condition.

Pediatric gastrointestinal conditions we treat

Our specialists are adept at treating any condition related to the GI and digestive tract, including:

  • Abdominal Pain including inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Altered bowel habits including constipation, diarrhea or blood in stools due to polyps, a small clump of cells within the lining of the intestinal tract.
  • Complicated feeding issues:
    • Gastrostomy feeding, or a feeding tube that’s inserted into a patient’s stomach through the abdomen.
    • Gastro-jejunal feeding, or a feeding tube that supplies nutrition to a patient directly into the jejunal, a portion of the small intestines.
    • Nasogastric feeding, also known as a NG tube, is placed through the nose to delivery medicine and food directly to the stomach.
    • Naso-jejunal feeding, much like a nasogastric tube, delivers medicine and food through a small tube through the nose directly to the jejunal, a portion of the small intestines.
  • Food allergies including Celiac's disease, an autoimmune disease in people who cannot eat gluten without damaging their small intestine.
  • Liver conditions:
    • Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin because the liver cannot process red blood cells as they break down
    • Hepatitis, or inflammation of the liver and can be a sign of liver disease
    • Enlarged liver, which can be a sign of liver disease
    • Abnormal liver blood tests, an indication of liver disease
  • Swallowing issues:
    • Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, or the feeling food is stuck when swallowing
    • Feeding difficulties including chocking and gagging
    • Esophageal dysmotility, or abnormal swallowing muscle contraction.
    • Eosinophilic Esophagitis, a chronic immune disease that causes white blood cells to collect in the esophagus, causing pain and discomfort.
    • Esophageal strictures, or a narrowing or the esophagus that might make swallowing more difficult
  • Vomiting issues:
    • Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD, occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and irritates the esophageal lining.
    • Reflux esophagitis, or damage to the esophagus from untreated reflux or GERD.
    • Vomiting blood
    • Pyloric stenosis, a condition that affects infants ages birth to six months that causes forceful vomiting and can lead to dehydration.
    • Malrotation, or twisted intestines, occurs during fetal development when the intestines do not grow into the correct position in the abdomen.
    • Helicobacter pylori, an infection that occurs from bacteria in your stomach and is a common cause of pediatric ulcers.
  • Weight issues including patients who may be overweight, underweight, struggling gaining weight or those who have a failure to thrive.

Our team is also a part of specialty pediatric programs to treat complex conditions including aerodigestive disorders and motility conditions. Aerodigestive disorders affect the ability to swallow or breath normally. Motility conditions

Getting started

At your child's first appointment, your family will meet our team, and we’ll evaluate your child’s symptoms and order any necessary testing to help diagnosis the condition. Our team includes pediatric gastroenterologists and surgeons, nurses, dietitians, speech therapists, social workers, and more. We also collaborate with other pediatric specialists, when necessary, to provide your child the best care possible. MU Health Care offers a full range of diagnostic, therapeutic nonsurgical and surgical options to treat whatever your child’s GI condition might be. Common testing procedures include:

  • Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), is a procedure that allows our team to see the inside of the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine by inserting a lighted thin, flexible tube through the mouth and throat through the digestive tract.
  • Colonoscopy including polypectomy, a procedure that sedates the patient to examine the lower intestines and remove any polyps should they exist.
  • Capsule endoscopy, a tiny wireless camera that a patient swallows and transmits photos of the digestive tract to help with evaluation and diagnosis.
  • Feeding tube placement to help address any feeding issues.
  • Esophageal dilatation to widen any areas of the esophagus that might be narrow.
  • Esophageal varices banding through endoscopy helps to remove or constrict enlarged veins in the lower esophagus by wrapping the enlarged veins together and cutting off the blood flow to reduce and stop any bleeding.
  • PH/Impedance reflux monitoring measures the amount of reflux in the esophagus over a 24-hour timeframe.

If surgery is recommended, we collaborate with our pediatric surgery team and will coordinate appointments and follow-up care through our clinic.