Dyspepsia and Upper Gastrointestinal Motility in Children

  • Carlo Di Lorenzo


Symptoms suggestive of intestinal dysmotility in children are always a source of great anxiety for both the patient and the parents. Chronic vomiting or persistent diarrhea may have serious consequences on growth organ. Infants double their body weight during the first five months of life and triple it by the end of one year and even a marginal loss of calories can cause failure to thrive. Having normal bowel movements is seen as an essential sign of health in children of all ages. Any deviation from what is felt to be normal triggers a call to the pediatrician. Abdominal pain in a child is particularly worrisome for the parents who worry that a serious disease is causing the symptom. In reality, most children presenting with either constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or vomiting do not suffer from any serious organic disease and have what is considered a “functional” disorder. For long time, it was felt that motility abnormalities were the primary cause of many pediatric functional bowel disorders. Disturbances in gastrointestinal motility have been described in children with recurrent abdominal pain, gastroesophageal reflux, toddler’s diarrhea, nonulcer dyspepsia, intestinal pseudo-obstruction, achalasia, Hirschsprung’s disease, and functional constipation and rumination syndrome (1, 2). These entities encompass more than 50% of the children presenting to pediatric gastroenterologists. In some conditions such as achalasia, Hirschsprung’s disease and pseudo-obstruction the motility abnormality is almost entirely responsible for the symptoms, in others it constitutes only one of the many pathogenic factors. It is now possible to study gastrointestinal motility in children using most of the same diagnostic techniques used by adult gastroenterologists.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome Gastrointestinal Motility Recurrent Abdominal Pain Nonulcer Dyspepsia Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlo Di Lorenzo
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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