If your child is having gas problems and you want to learn how to deal with them then read on. Lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, malabsorption and Crohn’s disease are the most important causes of gas in children. We will discuss each one of these causes.
Lactose intolerance is a condition in which children feel slight discomfort in their upper abdomen and suffer from diarrhea, bloating and gas. Deficiency of the enzyme lactase causes lactose intolerance in children. The function of the enzyme lactase is to break down the sugar found in milk. The other causative factors of lactose intolerance are small intestine injury or disease. Your child may show symptoms of lactose intolerance after consuming dairy products.
These symptoms are different in different individuals. You will be happy to know that there are medications that help in curing lactose intolerance. To know whether your child is suffering from lactose intolerance or not, immediately contact your child’s doctor. Your child may be required to undergo certain tests that will help in the diagnosis of lactose intolerance.
If the tests come out to be positive then the doctor may recommend you to exclude certain foods from your child’s diet. There are chances that your child may suffer from vitamin D and calcium deficiencies or weight loss due to exclusion of few nutritious foods from his or her diet. But do not worry, simply ask your child’s doctor to design an effective diet plan for him or her that would help in reducing the risk of serious complications.
Complications that arise due to lactose intolerance are malnourishment, decreased quality of life, osteoporosis, calcium deficiency, vitamin D deficiency and weight loss. There are many lactose-reduced products for children who have problems with consuming lactose. The two milk products that contain low levels of lactose are yogurt and cheese. The doctor may recommend you to give your child pills or liquid syrup that contain enzymes necessary for the breakdown of lactose. He or she may ask you to give calcium supplements to your child to meet the calcium requirements of his or her body.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome include bloating, constipation, abdominal pain, diarrhea and cramping. Your child’s doctor may recommend giving him or her medications such as antidiarrheals, antidepressants, antispasmodics and fiber supplements. Limiting your child’s dairy and gluten intake may prove beneficial for him or her. If your child suffers from severe abdominal pain, is unable to pass stool or vomits blood then contact your child’s health care provider as fast as possible.
The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome has not been found yet. Dairy products and gluten can cause irritable bowel syndrome. You might be interested to know what happens when any child suffers from this syndrome. In irritable bowel syndrome, the body is not able to absorb fluids properly which in turn leads to watery stools or diarrhea in children.
Some researchers have found that bacteria present in the intestinal tract are partly responsible for irritable bowel syndrome. People suffering from bacterial gastroenteritis (gastrointestinal tract inflammation) can develop irritable bowel syndrome. According to studies, excessive levels of serotonin, a chemical responsible for transmitting nerve signals in the body, are responsible for producing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Photo Credit: Toplekar.cz
The risk factors for irritable bowel syndrome include female gender, intake of dairy products or gluten, previous gastrointestinal infections and stress. There is no cure for irritable bowel syndrome but its symptoms can definitely be reduced with the help of medications and by making changes in one’s diet. You should avoid giving dairy products, gluten and caffeine to your child and include foods rich in fiber content to his or her diet. Make him or her drink plenty of liquids like fruit juices, water etc. Complications of irritable bowel syndrome include electrolyte imbalance and dehydration.
Malabsorption occurs when the body is not able to absorb the nutrients properly. Due to this, a child can suffer from deficiency of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and minerals. These deficiencies can hamper the growth and development of his or her body systems. In malabsorption, nutrients are excreted out of the body in the form of stools. Symptoms of malabsorption include bloating, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, weight loss and muscle wasting.
Malabsorption can also lead to other diseases and affect the growth of children. A child suffering from persistent diarrhea show symptoms like vomiting, sunken eyes, rapid heart rate, lethargy, loss of skin elasticity and reduced alertness. If your child is also showing any of these symptoms then contact his or her doctor immediately.
The causes of malabsorption include bowel resection, medications like tetracycline, antacids and diet drugs, lymphoma or pancreatic cancer, celiac disease, liver disease, parasite infections, whipple disease and Crohn’s disease. The risk factors for malabsorption include poor diet, cancer, food intolerances and structural abnormalities in the digestive system.
The doctor will decide the treatment after carefully examining your child and identifying the exact cause of malabsorption. Your child may need to be hospitalized to get fluids and nutrients. Complications of malabsorption include malnutrition, kidney stones, osteoporosis, gall stones, anemia and vitamin deficiencies.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. In Crohn’s disease, the healthy tissues are attacked by the body’s immune system due to an infection in the digestive tract. The lower part of the small intestine is most affected by this disease. Stomach, mouth, rectum, large intestine, small intestine and esophagus are the other parts that may get affected by this disease. Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include diarrhea, swelling and abdominal pain. This disease hampers the growth and development of children. They may find difficulty in doing their normal day to day activities.
Crohn’s disease causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and could lead to serious complications like gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia, bowel obstruction and nutritional deficiencies. The curefor Crohn’s disease has not been discovered yet. Specialists suggest treatments to reduce symptoms and complications that occur due to this disease. Drugs used to treat Crohn’s disease include anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, vitamins supplements and immune system suppressors.