Health Information

Digestive and Liver Disorders

  • Anorectal Malformation

    Anorectal malformations are birth defects, or problems that happen as an unborn baby is developing during pregnancy. With this defect, the anus and rectum don’t develop properly. They are the lower part of the digestive tract.

  • Appendicitis in Children

    Appendicitis is a painful swelling and infection of the appendix.  It is a medical emergency. The appendix can burst or rupture. This is serious and can lead to more infection. If not treated, it can be fatal.

  • Biliary Atresia

    Biliary atresia is a rare liver disease that occurs in infants. It is often found shortly after birth. The disorder affects tubes in the liver called bile ducts. If not treated with surgery, it can be fatal.

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in Children

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a long-term (chronic) disorder that affects the large intestine or colon. IBS causes painful belly (abdominal) and bowel symptoms.

  • Common Children's Digestive Problems

    Detailed information on common children's digestive problems, including colic, diarrhea, food allergies, and lactose intolerance

  • Colic

    Colic is when a healthy baby cries for a very long time, for no obvious reason. It is a common problem that affects some babies during the first 3 to 4 months of life.

  • Constipation in Children

    Constipation is when a child has very hard stools, and has fewer bowel movements than he or she normally does. It is a very common GI (gastrointestinal) problem.

  • Crohn's Disease in Children

    Crohn's disease is when there is redness, swelling (inflammation), and sores along the digestive tract. It is part of a group of diseases known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD.

  • Inguinal and Umbilical Hernias in Children

    A hernia is when a part of the intestine pushes through a weak spot in the belly (abdominal) muscles. The hernia creates a soft lump or bulge under the skin.

  • Diarrhea in Children

    Diarrhea is when stools (bowel movements) are loose and watery. Your child may also need to go to the bathroom more often.

  • Dysphagia

    Dysphagia means trouble swallowing. This condition happens when food or liquids can’t pass easily from your child’s mouth, into the throat, down the esophagus, and into the stomach when swallowing.

  • Encopresis

    Encopresis is when your child leaks stool into his or her underwear. It is also called stool soiling. It is most often because of long-term (chronic) constipation. Encopresis happens to children ages 4 and older who have already been toilet trained.

  • Food Allergies in Children

    A food allergy is when your child’s body has a bad immune reaction to a certain food. This is different than a food intolerance which does not affect the immune system. This is true even though some of the same signs may be present.

  • GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) in Children

    GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a long-term (chronic) digestive disorder. It happens when stomach contents flow back up (reflux) into the food pipe (esophagus).

  • Helicobacter Pylori in Children

    H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) is a spiral-shaped germ (bacteria) that infects the stomach. It can damage the tissue in your child’s stomach and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). This can cause redness and swelling (inflammation). It may also cause painful sores called peptic ulcers in the upper digestive tract.

  • Inguinal and Umbilical Hernia

    Detailed information on hernia, including risks, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment

  • Hirschsprung Disease

    Hirschsprung disease is a rare birth defect. It affects the nerve cells in the large intestine. These nerve cells control the muscles that move food and waste, or stool, through the large intestine. The large intestine is the last part of the digestive tract.

  • Home Page - Digestive and Liver Disorders

    Detailed information on digestive disorders in children

  • Inflammatory and Infectious Digestive Disorders

    Detailed information on digestive inflammatory and infectious disorders in children

  • Intussusception

    Intussusception is a serious problem in the intestine. It occurs when one part of the intestine slides inside another part. The intestine then folds into itself like a telescope. This creates a blockage or obstruction. It stops food that is being digested from passing through the intestine.

  • Liver Disorders

    Detailed information on the most common liver disorders in children

  • How the Liver Works

    Detailed information on how the liver works, including a full-color, labeled illustration of the digestive system

  • Liver Transplantation in Children

    A liver transplant is surgery to replace a diseased liver with a healthy liver from another person.

  • Problems Affecting the Lower Digestive Tract

    Detailed information on problems affecting the lower digestive tract of children

  • Intestinal Malrotation and Volvulus

    Intestinal malrotation is a birth defect. It happens when your baby’s intestinal tract doesn’t form as it should during pregnancy. Malrotation occurs when your baby’s intestine doesn’t turn like it should.

  • Meckel's Diverticulum

    Meckel's diverticulum is a small pouch in the wall of the intestine. It’s near where the small and large intestines meet. This condition is the most common birth defect of the digestive system. It happens to about 1 in 50 babies.

  • Omphalocele

    An omphalocele is a birth defect. It happens when your baby is forming during pregnancy. In this condition, some of your baby’s abdominal organs poke out (protrude) through an opening in the abdominal muscles. This area is in the umbilical cord. A clear (translucent) membrane covers the organs.

  • Online Resources - Digestive and Liver Disorders

    List of online resources to find additional information on digestive disorders

  • Problems in Prenatal Development of the Digestive Tract

    Detailed information on problems in prenatal development of the digestive tract

  • Topic Index - Digestive and Liver Disorders

    Detailed information on digestive disorders in children

  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula and Esophageal Atresia

    Tracheoesophageal fistula is a connection between the esophagus and the trachea. The esophagus is the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. The trachea is the tube that connects the throat to the windpipe and lungs. Normally, the esophagus and trachea are two tubes that are not connected. This issue is also called TE fistula or TEF. It can happen in one or more places.

  • Viruses, Bacteria, and Parasites in the Digestive Tract

    Detailed information on viruses, bacteria, and parasites in the digestive tract

  • Ulcerative Colitis in Children

    Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In this condition, the inner lining of your child’s large intestine (colon or bowel) and rectum gets inflamed. This inflammation often starts in the rectum and lower (sigmoid) intestine. Then it spreads to the whole colon.

  • Stomach and Duodenal Ulcers in Children

    An ulcer is an open sore (lesion). It’s normally found on the skin or mucous membranes. A peptic ulcer is in the lining of the stomach or duodenum. A gastric ulcer is in the stomach. A duodenal ulcer is in the duodenum.

  • Problems Affecting the Upper Digestive Tract

    Detailed information on problems affecting the upper digestive tract of children

  • Congenital Liver Defects

    Detailed information on congenital liver defects, including biliary atresia and choledochal cyst

  • Digestive System: An Overview

    Detailed information on how the digestive system works, including a full-color, labeled illustration of the digestive system

  • Diaphragmatic Hernia

    A diaphragmatic hernia is a birth defect. It happens in a baby during pregnancy. In this condition, there’s an opening in your baby’s diaphragm. This is the muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity.

  • Common Characteristics of Liver Disease

    Detailed information on liver diseases, including the most common characteristics of liver disease such as jaundice, cholestasis, liver enlargement, portal hypertension, esophageal varices, ascites, liver encephalopathy, and liver failure

  • Lactose Intolerance in Children

    Lactose intolerance is when the body can’t easily break down or digest lactose. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and milk products.

  • Rumination Syndrome

    Rumination syndrome is a rare behavioral problem. It affects children and some adults. Rumination syndrome causes an automatic regurgitation of recently eaten food. If your child has this problem, he or she will usually eat meals normally. But, after about an hour or two, undigested food comes back up into his or her mouth from the esophagus. Your child will either re-chew and re-swallow the food, or spit it out. Usually, this happens at every meal, day after day. Rumination is a reflex, not a conscious action.