Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Disease


Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disease

Gastroenterology FAQs

Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disease

The treatment protocol for gastrointestinal disease in children with autism is similar to that of neurotypical children.

Difficulties arise in proper gastrointestinal diagnosis and treatment in this group of children because of the historic bias favoring psychiatric explanations for ASD behaviors, an over-reliance by health care personnel on psychotropic medications, lack of familiarity or tolerance for alternative treatments often employed by families, reluctance to scientifically embrace the concept of gut-brain interactions, and the realistic time constraints present in meeting the complex medical, behavioral, academic, and social needs of these children and their families.

Intolerances to many commonly used medications, ingredient intolerances, feeding difficulties, and overall poor cooperation in many ASD children impose further difficulties in attempting to treat these children. Our office staff takes great pride in their knowledge and experience in dealing with each and every one of these issues, gleaned from years of experience interacting with over 1000 children and their families. Many of the gastrointestinal diagnoses in these children are curable, as they are in neurotypical children. While not curable, IBD's (inflammatory bowel diseases) are treatable and most patients respond (measured in quantifiable improvement of GI symptoms) to some combination of anti-inflammatory medication, antimicrobials, probiotics, digestive enzymes and dietary restriction.

Back to Top

The first step in treatment is an accurate diagnosis.

Proper diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal disease in autistic children not only may lead to improvement in their gastrointestinal symptoms, such as normalized stools, resolution of pain, weight gain and proper growth, but can also lead to improvement in behavioral and cognitive symptoms upon resolution of chronic pain. Aside from being intuitive, this conclusion has also been widely disseminated as a consensus opinion in a recent publication in Pediatrics, the flagship journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Treating the gastrointestinal symptoms of children with ASD may not treat autism as such, but relieving these children of chronic physical pain can make them more available for the therapies that are of demonstrated benefit and allow them to better participate in an academic setting.

Back to Top

Pediatric Gastroenterology of New York & Texas   |   148 Beach 9th Street Unit 2B Far Rockaway, NY 11691   |   7901 Cameron Road, Bldg 3, Suite 110, Austin TX 78754