Babies with Down syndrome have a 10-12% chance of being born with some type of congenital malformation of the gastrointestinal (digestive) system. Symptoms include poor feeding, vomiting, swollen abdomen and lack of stools.  Most symptoms become apparent shortly after birth, and most malformations can be successfully corrected surgically.

The most common gastrointestinal anomalies found in children with Down syndrome are:

a narrowing or blocking of the small intestines – Duodenal artresia;

an absence of an anal opening – Imperforate anus;

an obstruction of the outlet of the stomach – Pyloric Stenosis;

an abnormal opening between the trachea and the oesophagus – Tracheo-esophageal fistula.

Articles and Information

Gastrointestinal Problems in Children with Down’s Syndrome – by Dr Liz Marder

Duodenal Atresia Information Sheet

Pyloric Stenosis Information Sheet

Personal Experiences and Notes on the Care of a Child with Imperforate Anus

Tracheoesophageal Fistula


Medical and Surgical Care for Children with Down Syndrome:  A Guide for Parents

Stray-Gundersen, Karen Babies with Down Syndrome: A New Parent’s Guide

Selikowitz, Mark Down Syndrome: the facts

Articles and Information

Celiac Disease and Down Syndrome – Dr Len Leshin

Down Syndrome and Celiac Disease – Scott Andrews

Down’s Syndrome Coeliac Disease/Gluten Sensitivity – Dr Jennifer Dennis and Dr Geoffrey Holmes

Gluten Intolerance and Coeliac Disease


The Coeliac Society of Western Australia

The GFCF Diet – Gluten, Casein, Wheat and Dairy Free


Sanderson, Sheri  Incredible Edible – Gluten-Free Food for Kids

Medlen, Joan Guthrie  The Down Syndrome Nutrition Handbook :  A Guide to Promoting Healthy Lifestyles

Articles and Information

Constipation and Down Syndrome – Dr Len Leshin

Constipation in Down Syndrome – Mum’s discuss the issue

Constipation in Children


Parents have found the following recipes helpful in relieving constipation and increasing the fibre content of their children’s diets:


3 pitted prunes
1 ripe pear
1 tspn brown sugar

Stew all ingredients until soft.
Puree and serve with yoghurt, icecream, muffins etc

Fruit Cake

1 cup All Bran
1 cup SR Flour
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix all ingredients (except flour) and leave for 1 hour.
Add flour and mix with a spoon.
Pour into a prepared loaf tin and bake at 190c for 45-60 minutes.

Articles and Information

Down Syndrome and Hirschsprung Disease – by Victor J Bishop

Hirschsprung’s Disease


Hirschsprung’s and Motility Disorder Support Network HMDSN

An organisation that supports the parents and families of children who suffer from Hirschsprung’s disease and other gastrointestinal disorders.

Pull-thru Network is dedicated to the needs of those born with anorectal malformation or colon disease and any of the associated diagnosis.


Buie, Timothy and Alejandro Flores Sandoval  Down Syndrome and the Gastrointestinal Tract in Medical and Surgical Care for Children with Down Syndrome : A Guide for Parents