Leonel Rodriguez, MD, is chief of pediatric gastroenterology for Yale Medicine. He treats chronic and acute gastrointestinal problems in pediatric patients, and has special expertise treating problems with pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) function known as motility and functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Dr. Rodriguez says he became interested in pediatric GI motility and functional disorders almost 20 years ago, when he saw that there were only a handful of specialists in the country. Today there are more, as well as better treatments, and diagnostic tests that are less invasive and more accurate, he says.
Children also require a different approach than adults, he says. “In adults, this kind of care tends to be more individualized. When you treat a child, you're basically treating a family as well, so I try to incorporate families into the treatment plan so we can all work together.” Many of the GI disorders Dr. Rodriguez treats are chronic, requiring care for months and years. Families should have all essential information and know what to expect as far as tests, procedures, and medication, both short term and long term, he says.
GI motility and functional disorders can cause difficult symptoms, including chronic constipation, vomiting, and nausea, but children should get relief, and be to go to school and be active with proper care, Dr. Rodriguez says. “I’ve seen many kids who were finally able to go back to school after they couldn't go because they were in and out of the hospital. So, there are things we can do, and most of the time it won’t be terribly invasive. It might be a simple exam and a simple evaluation, and changes to their medications or diet that can potentially have a significant impact.”
At Yale Medicine, Dr. Rodriguez is focused on seeing pediatric patients with any type of GI motility and functional issue as quickly as possible, providing a proper evaluation, and avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures. He also provides second opinions for young patients with complex GI problems who are referred from other institutions in the U.S. and abroad.
Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital