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The University of Chicago Medicine - Comer Children's Hospital

Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition

Nationally ranked in gastroenterology and gastrointestinal surgery.

At Comer Children's, our team of highly skilled experts are ready to tackle the most complex digestive diseases in your child. We offer specialized care for patients with difficult-to-treat conditions, such as celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal failure, complex liver disorders, eosinophilic esophagitis, and acid peptic disease. In addition to managing complex care, our team also treats common gut conditions, such as abdominal pain, vomiting and constipation. With specialists in every subspecialty of gastroenterology, our team will work together to determine the underlying cause of your child's condition and identify a treatment strategy that will offer the best quality of life for your family. 

Complete Care from Multidisciplinary Team

Through our multidisciplinary team approach, we partner with specialists in pediatric surgery, pathology, radiology, nutrition, allergy and more, and have experts in each gastroenterology subspecialty to provide the highest level of care to each child. Our team works closely together to diagnose your child's specific condition and create a treatment plan that is tailored to his/her distinct needs.  

Conditions We Treat 

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Constipation
  • Poor Growth
  • Feeding Difficulties/Intolerances
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding (Upper/lower gut bleeding)
  • Jaundice 
  • Abnormal liver test results

Committed to Ongoing Research

Through leading-edge basic, translational and clinical research, our team is exploring new treatment options for children suffering from all types of gastrointestinal diseases. We are also investigating ways to personalize medicine for each patient, providing therapies that are more effective with fewer side effects. Additionally, with our clinical trials, we offer our patients the latest treatments before they are widely available.

Specialty Digestive Disease Care From Experts You Can Trust

As leaders in the field of pediatric gastroenterology, we provide comprehensive digestive diseases care and advanced treatment options to set your child up for the best chance for a successful outcome. Our expertise includes the following programs: 

Today, many children seem to be reacting to gluten-containing foods, such as pasta, crackers and donuts. Kids experiencing gluten intolerance will have symptoms including: stomach pains, diarrhea, moodiness and/or growth problems. If your child is having these difficulties, he or she could have celiac disease, a disorder affecting millions of Americans.

Celiac disease can manifest at any age, and is especially common in families with a history of autoimmune disease, such as type 1 diabetes, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. For those with celiac disease, gluten causes damage to the lining of the intestine, impairing proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Before eliminating gluten from your child's diet, first you must ensure he/she has been accurately diagnosed. Our world-renowned experts at Comer Children's Celiac Disease Center will perform an extensive evaluation of your child, including a blood test, to diagnosis their condition and begin to restore his/her full health.

«Learn more about our celiac care.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic condition that includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis and can be detected through a wide range of symptoms:

  • Stomach pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Failure to thrive/growth problems
  • Lack of appetite

If your son or daughter is experiencing one of more of these symptoms, scheduling an appointment with our pediatric gastroenterologist for an evaluation is the first step to diagnosis and treatment.

Parents with children suffering from IBD understand that this is a complex condition and finding the best treatment is essential to providing the highest quality of life for their son or daughter. Partnering with the right physician team is a crucial first step in managing your child's condition and maintaining long-term, sustainable health.

Our internationally recognized IBD program offers innovative medical therapies and surgical procedures, including advanced treatments that are not widely available elsewhere. These include treatments for colitis that maintain normal bowel anatomy and function. The program also provides a variety of support and educational resources to parents and patients so they can better manage the disease.

«Explore our IBD services

Discovering your child has liver disease can be scary, but the specialists at Comer Children's understand the challenges you are facing and work with your family to diagnose and treat your child's specific condition. A few of the liver diseases we treat are fatty liver, biliary atresia, and liver failure.

Signs of liver disease can be detected as early as a few days after birth or up to several months, with common symptoms being jaundice, fluid in the abdomen, bleeding and poor growth. If your child is experiencing any of these issues, please contact us for a further assessment.

Our physicians offer the full range of surgical and non-surgical treatment options for children with liver disease, including liver transplant. We work with each family individually to create a care strategy based on a thorough evaluation of your child’s diagnosis, overall health, and other important factors. For those who may require transplant surgery, Comer Children's is one of most experienced programs in the Unites States, so you can feel confident putting your child in our capable hands.

«Meet our liver disease team 

Intestinal failure in children is diagnosed when his/her intestines are unable to absorb the necessary nutrients (proteins, fats, water, vitamins, etc) for growth and development. This often occurs with short bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease or other digestive diseases. Overtime, intestinal failure can lead to malnutrition, growth issues, recurring central line infections and parenteral nutrition associated liver failure. Pediatric gastroenterologists at Comer Children's are experts in diagnosing and managing your child's intestinal failure. Depending on his/her distinct diagnosis, we may offer treatment options such as:

  • Total Parenteral Nutrition, which uses intravenous methods to supply your child with the necessary nutrients

  • Novel intravenous lipid emulsions including Omegaven and SMOF lipids for children who develop parenteral nutrition associated liver disease

  • Surgical solutions, including bowel lengthening

  • Intestinal transplantation

Our physicians with work with you and your child to explain all your treatment options and decide what is the best plan for your family. 

Fecal microbiota transplant is an effective treatment option for children who have antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile. More commonly know as C. diff, it is a bacteria present in your child's intestine that is typically harmless; however, if the healthy balance of this bacteria is disrupted, it can develop into a dangerous infection. An imbalance of C. diff can be caused by antibiotics, chemotherapy, gastrointestinal surgery and intestinal disorders, with typical symptoms including:

  • Stomach pain

  • Diarrhea (sometimes with blood)

  • Fever

  • Reduced appetite

  • Weight loss

While C. diff can be treated using certain antibiotics that will remove the infectious bacteria, the infection may reoccur in a small percentage of patients. At Comer Children's, our expert gastroenterologists offer fecal microbiota transplantation as a treatment option to eradicate C. diff when your child is not responding to medical management.

During fecal microbiota transplantation, our surgeons place healthy bacteria into the digestive tract by implanting donor stool into your child's intestines to eliminate symptoms caused by C. diff.  If this procedure is recommended for your child, we will thoroughly explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have.

If your child has a functional gastrointestinal disorder, they may experience abdominal discomfort because the nerve endings in the intestines may be hypersensitive. This discomfort may lead to chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting,  and/or constipation. However, since growth and development are normal in children who have a functional disorder, we understand this can be frustrating for parents and children since there is no diagnostic test that readily identifies this issue and no singular treatment that relives the symptoms.

For children and families suffering from functional gastrointestinal disorders, the expert gastroenterologists at Comer Children's provide comprehensive care with individualized treatments for each patient's needs. 

Eosinophilic esophagitis is an allergic inflammatory disorder of the esophagus and occurs when eosinophils, which are white blood cells that manifest during allergic reactions, cause inflammation and scarring along the lining of the esophagus, sometimes making it difficult to swallow. Parents should consult your physician if your child is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting/nausea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Acid reflux

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Failure to thrive/growth issues

  • Feeling that food gets stuck in the throat

If we suspect your child may have an eosinophilic disorder, our team will evaluate him or her to obtain a definitive diagnosis. From there, our specialists will work with your family and our multidisciplinary team to find the right treatment plan for your child. 

For patients and families dealing with gastrointestinal disorders, we understand that proper nutrition is key to your child's continued health. Our nutrition specialists work with you and your family to understand exactly what your child should/should not be eating. Our goal is to promote healthy growth and development in your child, and we will continue to monitor and adapt dietary plans according to your child's current needs.

Our nutritionists will provide a comprehensive dietary evaluation of your child, provide feeding and nutrition guidelines, and develop an individualized treatment plan that enables you to practice eating healthy diets at home. These specialists will be an important part of your on-going care team, and will provide educational support throughout your child's care.