Liver Disease Specialist

Kids and Tummies

Pediatric Gastroenterologist located in Gulfport, MS

Liver inflammation (hepatitis) due to a viral infection is the most likely cause of liver disease, but many other conditions can also affect your child's liver. If you think your child is showing signs of liver disease, the pediatric gastroenterologists at Kids and Tummies have the skills and knowledge to help. At their office in Gulfport, Mississippi, the expert team can also prevent your child from getting hepatitis with their immunization programs. Call Kids and Tummies to find out more or book an appointment online today.

Liver Disease Q & A

What is liver disease?

Liver disease affects the liver, a large organ in the upper abdomen that plays a vital role in filtering your blood and aiding digestion. 

Several liver diseases can affect children, including:

  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency: A genetic disorder that causes liver damage
  • Pediatric metabolic liver disease: A genetic disorder that affects your child's metabolism
  • Autoimmune hepatitis: Liver inflammation in children who have an overactive immune system
  • Glycogen storage disease: A buildup of glycogen (stored sugar) in the liver
  • Pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A condition where fat collects in the liver
  • Wilson's disease: A genetic disorder that causes liver injuries and a buildup of copper in the liver

Pediatric liver cancer is another type of liver disease. Bacterial infections, exposure to toxins or certain medications, and trauma can also cause hepatitis (liver inflammation), but by far the most common cause of liver disease in children is viral hepatitis.

What is viral hepatitis?

Hepatitis A, B, and C are the most common types of viral hepatitis.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A (HAV) is a liver disease your child could pick up from something they eat or drink, or touching objects that have traces of stool on them from someone who has the infection.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a more severe disease than hepatitis A. It can cause liver cancer, permanent scarring of your child's liver, and other potentially life-threatening complications. Hepatitis B (HBV) spreads through contact with blood or other body fluids. It can also pass between an infected mother and her unborn child.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C (HCV) spreads in the same way as hepatitis B and causes similar complications. It's the most serious type of hepatitis and a leading reason for adults to need liver transplants.

What symptoms do liver diseases cause?

Liver diseases like hepatitis often don't cause any symptoms. However, if your child does have symptoms, they may include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Pale-colored stools
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bruising easily
  • Pain and swelling in the abdomen

One of the clearest symptoms of liver disease is jaundice, which makes the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellowish.

How are liver diseases treated?

Treatment for your child's liver disease depends on the cause. The Kids and Tummies pediatric gastroenterologists are experts in diagnosing liver diseases and using the most advanced treatment methods.

Hepatitis A and B are preventable through vaccination. Your pediatrician can advise you on the most effective immunization strategy for your child. There's no vaccination for hepatitis C yet, but effective medications are available to treat the disease.

If your child has any liver disease symptoms or you'd like to discuss vaccination against hepatitis, call Kids and Tummies today or book an appointment online.