Pediatric Malabsorption Syndrome

January 29, 2021
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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If you’re a parent or caregiver of a child, you’re well aware of the knot that forms in your throat — and the heaviness in the pit of your stomach — when your baby is showing signs that something is wrong with their health. You wonder about symptoms, whether you’re overreacting, and when it’s time to see a doctor. Such can be the case with pediatric malabsorption syndrome.

Overview of Pediatric Malabsorption Syndrome

When the digestive system is healthy, nutrients pass through the wall of the small intestine and into the bloodstream. They are then carried to cells throughout the body. However, if the intestinal wall is damaged, these nutrients cannot pass through. They are then eliminated through bowel movements. This condition is known as pediatric malabsorption syndrome.

The condition doesn’t necessarily occur long term. In some cases, it can be the result of the stomach flu, and your child will return back to feeling well after a few days. When such is the case, there is no cause for concern. However, if it occurs long-term, it could lead to malnutrition. And, if the condition occurs when the child is very young, it could affect their brain development and their height as an adult.

Causes of Pediatric Malabsorption Syndrome

Pediatric malabsorption can be caused by many different factors. In some children, it may be due to food intolerances, intestinal parasites, or having recently undergone surgery. However, it can also be the result of underlying medical conditions, including:

  • Anemia
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Short bowel syndrome
  • Cancer

Symptoms of Pediatric Malabsorption Syndrome

The symptoms of pediatric malabsorption may vary from one child to the next, depending on the severity of the condition. However, the most common ones include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Oily, foul-smelling bowel movements
  • Bruising easily
  • Skin rashes
  • Bone fractures
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Increased infections
  • Failure to thrive

Diagnosis and Treatment for Pediatric Malabsorption Syndrome

When you take your child to their pediatrician, the doctor will review your child’s medical history, as well as conduct a physical examination. You may need to provide a detailed list of food items your child eats frequently. In addition, your child may need to undergo blood, sweat, and/or stool tests, a CT scan, or an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) test.

The treatment will depend on the cause of the nutrient malabsorption. They may include antibiotics, mineral supplements, and/or medications to manage inflammation and diarrhea. If the malabsorption is caused by an underlying disease, the pediatrician will refer your child to a specialist for additional treatment. If it’s caused by food intolerances, your child’s pediatrician will work with you to develop a customized nutritional plan.

Contact Care Options for Kids For Pediatric Home Health Care

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of skilled professionals at Care Options for Kids is here to help.

Our home health care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.

If you are considering pediatric home health care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.