Failure to thrive means your child isn’t growing at the rate they should, which could indicate a problem with their health or their diet. If your child seems to be a little small for their age, Ahmet Aybar, MD, of Annapolis Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition in Annapolis, Maryland, can find out why and make sure all is well. Dr. Aybar is a board-certified pediatrician who specializes in treating children and young adults who have nutritional and gastrointestinal conditions, including failure to thrive. Call Annapolis Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.

Failure To Thrive Q & A

What is a failure to thrive?

Children who aren’t achieving the same rate of growth like most other children of their age and gender are said to have a failure to thrive.

Failure to thrive can be down to a medical issue, or in some cases, problems in a child’s home environment like neglect or abuse. Some of the many medical causes for failure to thrive include:

  • Down syndrome
  • Genetic diseases
  • Organ problems
  • Hormone problems
  • Central nervous system damage
  • Heart or lung problems
  • Anemia
  • Other blood disorders
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Chronic infections
  • Metabolic problems

If your child isn’t growing or developing at the same pace as children in their class at school or kindergarten, it’s worth taking them to Annapolis Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition for a checkup.

What symptoms does failure to thrive cause?

As well as their height and weight being lower than they should be according to standard growth charts, children who are failing to thrive could have other symptoms.

These symptoms could include delays in reaching developmental milestones like being able to roll over or walk. Children might also have less well-developed mental or social skills.

Babies might be poor feeders and not want to eat enough. In adolescents, there’s often a delay in the development of secondary sex characteristics. Other symptoms include:

  • Constipation
  • Excessive crying
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability

The Denver Developmental Screening Test is a tool Dr. Aybar can use at Annapolis Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition to assess the areas where your child is failing to meet the expected developmental targets.

How is failure to thrive diagnosed?

To find the cause of your child’s failure to thrive, Dr. Aybar goes through their medical history and family health history and carries out a physical exam. He can also run tests such as:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Electrolyte balance
  • Hemoglobin electrophoresis
  • Hormone studies
  • Thyroid function tests
  • X-rays to establish bone age
  • Urinalysis

Treatment for failure to thrive is dependent on the underlying cause. If their failure to thrive is due to a nutritional deficiency, it’s vital to ensure your child is receiving the correct nutrients from their diet.

Dr. Aybar has considerable expertise and experience in treating nutritional deficiencies and can give you detailed advice on how to enrich your child’s diet.

It’s also important to treat any medical conditions your child has that could be causing their failure to thrive. If your child gets treatment in good time, they shouldn’t suffer any long term effects from a failure to thrive.

However, there can be permanent delays in physical and mental development if your child doesn’t receive treatment early enough.

If you’re concerned about your child’s growth, call Annapolis Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition today, or book an appointment online.