If your pediatrician has referred you to a Fulshear TX pediatric gastroenterologist near me, give Dr. James Maher a call today. Dr. Maher is board-certified in gastroenterology and internal medicine and has years of experience treating adult and pediatric patients across the Greater Houston Area.
What is a gastroenterologist?
A gastroenterologist, also called a GI doctor, specializes in diagnosing and treating digestive tract issues. The digestive system covers a large portion of the body. GI experts treat the esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon, gallbladder, and more.
Why was my child referred to a GI doctor?
Many children across the Houston area are referred from Texas Children’s Pediatrics or another local pediatrician. While your pediatrician is an expert in childhood healthcare, they specialize in broad diagnosis and treatment. Doctors of pediatric gastroenterology went through additional schooling that focuses only on gastrointestinal, GI, disorders.
What do pediatric GI doctors treat?
Even the smallest among us can have problems with their gut. Thankfully, there are many issues a general pediatrician can resolve with a wait-and-see method or common medicines. However, when first-line treatments don’t work, your child should see a GI doctor.
Bowel diseases and disorders
Kids have much more sensitive stomachs than adults. For example, a small glass of juice can give young children diarrhea, while an adult could drink several glasses with no effect. Similarly, a food that irritates a child’s stomach may no longer bother the child when they are an adult.
However, some children struggle with an actual bowel disorder or disease. With children, this can be very hard for a pediatrician to diagnose. An expert in the GI system can easily find the problem.
Milk allergies and sensitivities
An allergy is different from a sensitivity. Although both can be very unpleasant, an allergy can be a life-threatening emergency. A sensitivity is considered a localized reaction, no matter how severe it is.
Officially, an allergy causes a reaction across the entire body. For example, children who are mildly allergic to milk might break out in hives all over their bodies. The rash is across the entire body, so it’s considered an allergy.
On the other hand, if a bee stings a child and the child’s arm swells, doctors don’t consider it an allergy. Unfortunately, classifying allergies this way can prevent kids from getting relief from and controlling symptoms.
So, a true milk allergy is very rare. Very few children will have a system-wide response to milk. The milk has to affect more than the child’s GI tract for a doctor to call it an allergy.
On the other hand, milk sensitivity is very prevalent. Many children and adults are lactose intolerant.
Usually, this is a simple fix: eliminate dairy from the diet. However, removing dairy doesn’t always work for kids, so a GI doctor will investigate other causes.
Rarely, a baby’s stomach doesn’t fully form while in the womb. Parents usually discover this problem within the baby’s first month of life because the baby will not be able to keep milk down.
Babies whose stomach does not fully form will throw up after every meal. As a result, the baby loses weight rapidly and has to have emergency surgery.
Thankfully, this disorder is easily corrected. With all the advances in modern medicine, infants make a full and relatively easy recovery. Since babies are so immobile when they’re a month old, parents don’t have to worry about limiting the baby’s movement.
It’s quite common for children to have bouts of diarrhea. Their tummies are very sensitive to new foods. In addition, kids in daycare or school get stomach viruses often.
However, when treatments for diarrhea are not working, a pediatrician may refer the child to a GI specialist. There are many causes of diarrhea, and if a pediatrician has already tried the usual treatments, it’s time to call an expert.
Loss of appetite
Like diarrhea, it’s common for children to be starving one day and not very hungry the next. Children go through many growth spurts, and even brain growth can increase a child’s appetite. However, when a kid is consistently not hungry, it can be a red flag.
Unfortunately, “my stomach hurts” is a very vague statement. Children are not always good at telling us where they hurt because they may not even know themselves. Thankfully, pediatricians can usually diagnose the cause and successfully treat stomach pain.
However, there are times when typical treatments don’t work. Finding a Fulshear TX pediatric gastroenterologist near me will help diagnose the problem.
Blood in the stool
Many parents are shocked when their baby or child has a little blood with their poo. After all, we’ve all been cautioned to look out for blood in our stool.
The fact is many kids have blood on their stools at least once while growing up. The important factor is how often. If you only see a drop or two once, there is probably no need to panic.
Kids who are a bit backed up will strain on the toilet. Unlike adults, their tiny bodies don’t take straining quite so well. So, it’s easier for a child to get a small tear from straining. The tears will bleed a very, very small amount just once. If it’s a typical tear, you won’t see it again.
Unfortunately, not all blood in the stool is harmless. That’s why it’s critical to pay attention to both the amount and the frequency. If you see blood in your child’s stool more than once or if the amount is more than just a few drops, it’s critical that you call the pediatrician.
Who is the best Fulshear TX pediatric gastroenterologist near me?
When it comes to treating kids, you won’t find a better comparison than Dr. James Maher. He has a great bedside manner with children and can find the cause of your child’s digestive issues quickly.
Dr. Maher takes the time to discuss every diagnosis and go over treatment options. Further, he believes in continuing education, so he stays up to date on the latest research.
Fun facts about Fulshear, Texas
- Churchill Fulshear bought a land grant in 1824 and established what is now the City of Fulshear.
- The City’s population has fluctuated a lot since its establishment, at times reaching only 100 residents.
- Fulshear is a member of Keep Texas Beautiful and has its own campaign, Keep Fulshear Beautiful. Citizens help clean up the city twice a year.
For more fun facts, visit the Fulshear website.