Children's Hospital Colorado
Digestive Health Institute
Digestive Health Institute
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Pediatric Neurogastroenterology and Motility Program

It’s challenging to live with long-term digestive problems, especially for kids. At the Neurogastroenterology and Motility Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado, we’re dedicated to caring for children and teens with difficult or unexplained symptoms like persistent nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and intestinal problems to improve their quality of life.

About the Neurogastroenterology and Motility Program

With a team of experts from multiple pediatric specialties, our Program provides comprehensive care for kids with complex intestinal contraction problems and sensory disorders of the gastrointestinal (digestive) tract. Here, we strive to understand the causes and best treatments for challenging digestive conditions like swallowing problems, gastroparesis, cyclic vomiting syndrome and other disorders that affect the movement and absorption of food and nutrients during digestion.

Whether we see your child for outpatient clinic visits or in the hospital, we proudly provide individualized treatments customized for each patient. We work closely with our patients and their families, along with their primary gastroenterologist, to ensure a thorough diagnostic and treatment process.

A provider checks a child's stomach

Treating the second brain

In the past, there weren’t many options for helping kids with unexplained tummy troubles. Today, our experts are narrowing in on causes – and treatments – for these complex conditions.

Learn more about the “second brain”

Why choose Children’s Colorado for neurodigestive care

The Neurogastroenterology and Motility Program at Children’s Colorado is one of only a few centers for neurogastroenterology in the country offering complete and multidisciplinary care for kids with complex gastrointestinal disorders. In fact, we’re the only pediatric neurogastroenterology program in Colorado and one of few in the Rocky Mountain region.

Having multiple pediatric specialists working together is especially important for children and teens experiencing both common and unusual neurodigestive conditions involving multiple body systems. Our unique team approach allows us to conduct the best evaluation possible and plan treatment for the whole child.

Learn more about multidisciplinary care and our team of pediatric specialists.

ONLY Pediatric neurodigestive program in Colorado
#6 Pediatric gastroenterology program in the nation by U.S. News and World Report

Our neurodigestive team

Our care is designed not only to treat your child or teen’s digestive disorder, but to help them feel comfortable in the healthcare setting and thrive at home.

In addition to the pediatric neurogastroenterologists who will treat your child, our center includes:

  • Registered dietitians to recommend dietary and lifestyle changes while ensuring your child is receiving optimal nutrition
  • Child psychologists to help your child manage stress and care for their mental health
  • Physical therapists to assess your child’s pelvic floor and abdominal muscles and to help improve bowel function
  • Child life specialists who help explain conditions, tests and procedures in an age-appropriate manner

We also work closely with experts in Children’s Colorado’s International Center for Colorectal and Urogenital Care and Department of Pediatric Urology when surgery may be necessary.

Diagnostic and therapeutic testing for neurogastrointestinal disorders in children

Our Program offers state-of-the-art testing and innovative technology to properly diagnose and treat the wide array of complex motility disorders in kids, including:

  • Esophageal manometry: A test to check how well the muscles of the esophagus work together to move solids and liquids down the esophagus into the stomach
  • Antroduodenal manometry: A procedure to measure how the muscles of the stomach and small intestine are working while fasting, after a meal and during sleep
  • Colonic manometry: A test to determine how muscles and nerves work inside the colon and the strength of muscle contractions
  • Anorectal manometry: A test to evaluate the rectum and anal sphincter, sensation in the rectum and neural reflexes (many nerves that work together) that are needed for normal bowel movements
  • EndoFlip: A tool that can assess the opening of the lower esophageal sphincter and the stiffness of the wall in the esophagus
  • Colonic transit marker study: A test to evaluate how well the colon can transport waste from the small intestine to the rectum
  • Whole-gut gastrointestinal transit / nuclear scintigraphy studies: Tests to evaluate the movement of food through the whole digestive tract using specialized technology
  • Gastroesophageal pH / impedance and Bravo PH testing: Tests to determine the amount of acidity (pH) in the esophagus and stomach to help diagnose gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD)
  • External ear vagal nerve stimulator therapy: A procedure to help with chronic pain and nausea disorders

Neurogastroenterology and motility research and innovation

The neurogastroenterology team at Children’s Colorado leads scientific research to better understand intestinal motility problems. Our basic science research focuses on understanding the enteric (intestinal) nervous system’s response to injury and how this can lead to disorders of sensory and motor function of the intestines like pseudo-obstruction and abnormal intestinal barrier function.

We’re also working diligently to develop new therapies to treat patients, including stem cell transplants to replace missing or damaged nerve cells in the intestine. Coming to the Digestive Health Institute at Children’s Colorado means your child will have access to the most advanced treatments available.

Who we treat in the Neurogastroenterology Program

We treat neurogastrointestinal conditions in kids of all ages – from infancy through childhood and into young adulthood.

Our pediatric experts specialize in treating a wide variety of patients experiencing neurodigestive conditions, including:

  • Swallowing problems (dysphagia)
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia)
  • GERD
  • Gastroparesis
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome
  • Hirschsprung disease
  • Slow transit constipation
  • Pelvic outlet disorders related to constipation

Learn more about the conditions we treat at the Digestive Health Institute.

Contact the Neurogastroenterology Program

We welcome consultations and referrals from your child’s primary gastroenterologist or primary care doctor. Please call 720-777-9518 with questions or to begin the referral process.

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