As a designated National Pancreas Foundation Center of Excellence, Children's Health℠ offers leading tools, expertise and techniques to treat pancreatic insufficiency in children. Our experts will help your child avoid the complications that this condition can cause.
We’ll also make every effort to educate you and your child about pancreatic insufficiency and your child’s treatment plan. That way, we can all work together to offer your child the best care possible, both at home and in the clinic.
When a child’s pancreas does not make enough enzymes, it’s called exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) or pancreatic insufficiency. Enzymes are important proteins that help regulate how cells work.
Your child needs a specific type of enzyme, called digestive enzymes, to digest food, absorb nutrients and grow. Since children with EPI do not have enough of these vital enzymes, they might struggle to gain weight or maintain a healthy weight for their age.
Pancreatic insufficiency is not common in children. However, it is the most common nutrition-related complications associated with cystic fibrosis.
Our team will likely perform some or all of the following tests:
One of the most common causes of pediatric pancreatic insufficiency is cystic fibrosis, a rare genetic condition that disrupts the body’s mucus production across the body, including the pancreas. Other genetic conditions in which EPI is seen include:
Treating your child’s pancreatic insufficiency is a team effort. Our team of specialists will work closely with your family to create a treatment plan that reflects your child’s preferences, habits, lifestyle and overall health. That team includes:
Most of the time, children with pancreatic insufficiency can manage the condition with:
In addition to prioritizing what works best for your child, our experts are also a part of a network of centers across the country conducting ongoing studies into pediatric pancreatic health. We know what the latest research has found because we’ve helped contribute to it. We’ll incorporate those findings into your child’s care so you can trust our decision-making is rooted in the latest scientific advances.
No, but if your child sticks to their care plan, they should achieve their estimated height, gain weight. They will likely have to continue to take enzymes with meals and snacks throughout their life, but we are here help your child and you adjust to this new schedule of medications.
While some foods might make your child’s EPI symptoms worse, we can adjust the enzymes we prescribe so your child won’t have to avoid too many foods. However, extremely greasy foods can cause gas, bloating and greasy stools in children with pancreatic insufficiency no matter how effective their enzymes are. So as always, a healthy balanced nutrition plan will give your child the best possible health outcomes.