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UNC Children's pediatric gastroenterology specialists combine compassion and expertise in treating children with digestive disorders.

Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology

If your child is affected by digestive issues, UNC Children’s pediatric gastroenterology experts can help. Our board-certified pediatric gastroenterologists and other members of the care team have expertise in children’s developing digestive systems, including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

You can count on us to identify and treat the source of your child’s gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, so s/he feels better and gets the nutrition needed to grow and thrive.

GI Care for Children

We care for boys and girls from every corner of North Carolina, as well as from neighboring states, and we’re asked to consult on care for children worldwide.

You know we set the bar for pediatric gastroenterology in North Carolina, because our program, founded in 1977, was the first of its kind in the state, and our team includes some of the state’s most experienced specialists.

Coordinated Care

UNC Children’s provides seamless, comprehensive care. Our gastroenterologists work closely with other UNC specialists, including pediatric surgeons, pediatric radiologists, pediatric pathologists, dietitians, psychologists and psychiatrists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and more. And, when needed, your child benefits by getting to see more than one specialist during each appointment.

What We Treat

Conditions We Treat

Get a diagnosis and treatment for nearly every pediatric GI condition, from food intolerances to chronic complex digestive disorders. We treat:

  • Celiac disease – A digestive disorder in which gluten causes the immune system to damage the small intestine
  • Esophagitis – Inflammation or swelling of the esophagus, including eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)
  • Failure to thrive – A condition in which a child’s weight or rate of weight gain is significantly less than their peers’
  • Feeding and swallowing disorders (dysphagia) – Difficulty gathering, sucking, chewing or moving food down the throat
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) – Persistent, recurring symptoms that occur due to abnormal sensitivity of the nerves of the digestive tract
    • Abdominal pain
    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – Abdominal pain associated with diarrhea and/or constipation
    • Nausea and/or vomiting, including cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS)
    • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – Stomach contents leak back into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infections – Bacterial stomach infection that causes gastritis and ulcers and can lead to stomach cancer
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – Chronic inflammation of the digestive tract
  • Lactose intolerance – Inability to digest foods containing lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products
  • Liver diseases
    • Biliary atresia – Bile gets trapped in the liver due to a lack of bile duct openings
    • Hepatitis – Inflammation of the liver; may be caused by a virus or an autoimmune condition
  • Newborn jaundice – High levels of bilirubin, a substance created when the body replaces red blood cells, make your baby’s skin look yellow
  • Intestinal insufficiency – Part of the small intestine is missing, making it difficult for the body to absorb enough fluid and nutrients; sometimes referred to as short bowel syndrome

Treatments

GI Services & Treatments

Take advantage of an extensive range of consultations and procedures, including:

  • Endoscopy procedures – Allow doctors to see and treat your child’s digestive tract without surgery
    • Upper endoscopy (EGD) – Looks at the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum)
    • Colonoscopy – Looks inside the entire large intestine (colon)
    • Flexible sigmoidoscopy – Looks inside the lower end of the large intestine
    • Foreign body retrieval – Removes a potentially dangerous item from a child’s esophagus or stomach
    • Esophageal dilation – Stretches a narrowed area of the esophagus
    • Sclerosis of esophageal varices – Controls bleeding by injecting medicine into a large vein in the esophagus
    • Banding of esophageal varices – Controls bleeding by placing a tiny ring on a large vein in the esophagus
  • Oral motor and behavioral feeding therapy
  • Nutrition consultations and management
  • Esophageal pH test – Diagnoses acid reflux by measuring acid that backs up into the esophagus from the stomach
  • Hydrogen breath testing – Measures hydrogen in a breath to determine how well your child’s body breaks down lactose (milk sugar) or sucrose (table sugar)
  • Medications
  • Feeding tubes and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) – Delivers nutrition and hydration through a tube or IV (TPN) to children who can’t or shouldn’t eat
  • Biopsy – Removes a small piece of tissue so it can be examined for signs of damage or disease
  • GI surgery
  • Liver transplant

In collaboration with our adult GI Division we offer:

  • Esophageal and anal manometry – Assesses muscle contractions
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) – Allows a doctor to see and treat the bile system, gallbladder and pancreas

Most pediatric procedures are performed in a dedicated GI suite at N.C. Children’s Hospital. A few procedures are performed in the adult GI center at N.C. Memorial Hospital, which is right next door to the Children’s Hospital.

Close to Home

Care Close to Home

Find pediatric gastroenterology care close to home. We offer care at two convenient locations in the Triangle:

N.C. Children’s Outpatient Center, located on the ground floor of N.C. Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill

N.C. Children’s Specialty Clinic, located on the UNC REX Healthcare campus in Raleigh

Find Family-Centered Care at UNC

At UNC Children’s and N.C. Children’s Hospital, you’ll find friendly, compassionate staff who are experts at working with children and families. We’ll do our best to ease your anxiety, help you understand your child’s medical condition so you can make informed choices about their care, and offer whatever additional support you need. You can help make your experience go as smoothly as possible by exploring our patients and visitors section to learn about:

Ask for a Referral

You’ll need a physician’s referral for most pediatric GI care. For more information, talk to your doctor or call us at 919-966-2435.

More Than Just Patient Care

Learn how our pediatric GI team advances UNC Children’s important research and medical education missions.

Related Locations

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