Gastrointestinal symptoms in infants and small children are rarely due to allergy
Julkaistu 16.12.2011 00.01
Crying and fussiness accompanied with symptoms related to the gastrointestinal tract are common in infants and small children. Food-allergy with gastrointestinal symptoms alone is not common, but is often suspected and avoidance diets are often initiated without proper evaluation. This makes daily life more cumbersome for the family and causes unnecessary stress. Many other more common symptoms and diseases occur in this age-group, such as infant regurgitation, infant colic, functional diarrhoea, infant dyschezia and functional constipation. For a full evaluation of the symptoms th doctor should also be aware of these entities. The parents are concerned for their child and seek help. Coping strategies vary between families and are dependent on their experiences and expectations of the child. These concerns should be addressed to help the family to cope with everyday life. Since the small child cannot verbalise his/her symptoms and pains yet, the evaluation is based on carefully listening to the parents and observing and examining the child. The family must have the opportunity for another visit. A wrong or missed diagnosis can lead to unnecessary suffering. With good knowledge of symptoms and illnesses in infants and small children unnecessary elimination diets can be avoided, the families can relax and enjoy their time with their small children and the children can be more content.
M.D., Ph.D., Docent, Specialist in Paediatrics and Paediatric Allergology
Helsinki University Central Hospital, Skin and Allergy Hospital
Finnish Medical Journal 2011;66:3841–45.
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