Hirschsprung disease (HD) is a disease of the large intestine that causes severe constipation or intestinal obstruction. Constipation means stool moves through the intestines slower than usual. Bowel movements occur less often than normal and stools are difficult to pass. Some children with HD can’t pass stool at all, which can result in the complete blockage of the intestines, a condition called intestinal obstruction. People with HD are born with it and are usually diagnosed when they are infants.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) happens when a muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux, into the esophagus and irritate it. Anyone, including infants and children, can have GERD.
Intussusception is the sliding of one part of the intestine into another. Intussusception can block the passage of food through the intestine. If the blood supply is cut off, the segment of intestine pulled inside can die. Intussusception can affect both children and adults. However, most cases occur in children ages 6 months - 2 years. It affects boys four times as often as girls.
Pyloric stenosis is a narrowing of the pylorus, the opening from the stomach into the small intestine. With pyloric stenosis, the muscles of the pylorus are thickened. This prevents the stomach from emptying into the small intestine. The cause of the thickening is unknown. Genes may play a role, since children of parents who had pyloric stenosis are more likely to have this condition. Pyloric stenosis occurs most often in infants younger than 6 months. It is more common in boys than in girls.
Celiac disease is an immune disease in which people can't eat gluten because it will damage their small intestine. If you have celiac disease and eat foods with gluten, your immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Symptoms may occur in the digestive system, or in other parts of the body. One person might have diarrhea and abdominal pain, while another person may be irritable or depressed. Irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children.
Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby's lip or mouth do not form properly. They happen early during pregnancy. A baby can have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both. Children with a cleft lip or a cleft palate often have problems with feeding and talking. They also might have ear infections, hearing loss, and problems with their teeth.
Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the intestines caused by a virus, bacteria or parasites. It spreads through contaminated food or water, and contact with an infected person. The best prevention is frequent hand washing. The most common problem with gastroenteritis is dehydration. This happens if you do not drink enough fluids to replace what you lose through vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration is most common in babies, young children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.
Necrotizing enterocolitis (pronounced nek-ruh-TAHYZ-ing en-tuh-roh-koh-LAHY-tis), or NEC, is a common disease of the intestinal tract in which the tissue lining the intestine becomes inflamed, dies, and can slough off. The condition typically affects infants who are born preterm or who are already sick, and it usually occurs before the newborn leaves the hospital. NEC usually begins within the first 2 or 3 weeks after birth in preterm infants who otherwise appear to be getting healthier.