Gas Relief for Toddlers
It’s normal for people of all ages to pass gas daily, even toddlers. However, when toddlers experience severe gas pain, or if milder instances of gas and bloating occur often, you may wonder if something else might be going on. Finding gas relief for toddlers starts with taking a good look at your child’s lifestyle and diet to figure out the cause. Read on to learn how to help a toddler with gas pain.
Causes of Toddler Stomach Pain and Gas
Many things may cause toddlers to develop excessive gas, but all intestinal gas comes from one of two main sources: increased intake of gas, or increased production of gas in the intestines.
Your toddler may increase their intake of gas several ways, such as:
- Swallowing air – which can happen if your child runs around a lot after eating
- Drinking through a straw
- Consuming carbonated drinks
- Chewing gum
- Having a crying fit
Production of excess intestinal gas can also happen several ways, including:
- Gastroenteritis, also referred to stomach flu; an infection often caused by a bacteria or virus
- Chronic intestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which are disorders of the large intestine (colon)
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Certain medicines – such as antibiotics or probiotics
- Inability to digest and absorb certain foods, such as lactose intolerance which is an inability to digest lactose, the main carbohydrate in dairy products
There’s also another, less common, cause of stomach pain and gas in toddlers: Sucrose Intolerance caused by Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID). With this rare genetic disorder, your child lacks sucrase and isomaltase, two enzymes normally produced in the small intestine. These enzymes are needed for the body to digest foods containing sucrose (table sugar).
Without sucrase and isomaltase, the sucrose in foods isn’t broken down during digestion into glucose and fructose, which are forms of sugar your toddler’s body needs for growth and energy.
Consequently, undigested sucrose makes its way into the colon. There, bacteria breakdown the undigested sugar by a process called fermentation, which produces gas. The build-up of gas in the colon leads to flatulence (farting), and may cause severe gas pain and bloating.
Diagnosing Gas Pains in Toddlers
In order to identify the cause of your toddler’s gas pain, start keeping a diary of the foods your child eats and drinks along with her reactions to the food or drink. Make an appointment with her pediatrician and take the food diary with you. Once your toddler is correctly diagnosed, you should have a path you can take to help with your toddler’s gas pain relief.
Diagnosing a child with CSID may not be as easy. While a food diary is helpful, CSID is rare, which is why it may be missed by doctors, or misdiagnosed as IBS or a food allergy. Consequently, children with CSID may experience gas pain for years. If you think your toddler might have CSID, taking this quiz on your child’s behalf can help inform your hunch – but remember that only a doctor can diagnose your child.
Treating Gas Pains in Toddlers
In general, gas pain in toddlers doesn’t usually require medical treatment. However, it’s a good idea to see your child’s pediatrician if your toddler frequently passes excessive gas. You should also see a pediatrician if your child has other symptoms, such as weight loss or diarrhea that lasts for more than a week.
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