Pediatric Specialists for Failure to Thrive

At the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital, our pediatric gastroenterologists are experts at diagnosing failure to thrive. Every year, we care for many children with all types of digestive problems, including rare and complex diseases that cause or contribute to this condition.

What is failure to thrive?

Doctors use the term “failure to thrive” when a child is not meeting weight or height milestones for their age. This can occur in children of all ages, from babies and toddlers to adolescents and teenagers.

Signs and symptoms of failure to thrive in children may include:

  • Not meeting weight milestones
  • Not meeting height milestones
  • Abnormal weight loss

What can cause failure to thrive?

A common cause of failure to thrive is not taking in enough calories to grow as expected. Sometimes, however, failure to thrive is caused by malabsorption or calorie losses. Dozens of different diseases and conditions can cause or contribute to growth problems, including:

Can failure to thrive be treated?

Yes. As part of a major academic medical center, Comer Children’s is on top of the latest medical and surgical treatments for failure to thrive. Many of our physicians are also conducting research to uncover innovative approaches for treating diseases that contribute to failure to thrive

Once we know the nutritional or medical problem causing failure to thrive, we focus on helping your child thrive and grow. The exact treatment will vary, depending on your child’s age and disease or condition.

Many times a change in diet or feeding approach can help your child gain needed weight and height. Parents can work one-on-one with our experienced pediatricians, dieticians, lactation consultants, social workers and other team members. Together, we will help you ensure that your child is getting enough nutrients and calories.

In addition, we consult with other pediatric specialists at Comer Children’s, including endocrinologists, pulmonologists and cardiologists.

Request an Appointment

The information you provide will enable us to assist you as efficiently as possible. A representative will contact you within one to two business days to help you schedule an appointment.

You can also make an appointment with our providers by:

Scheduling a virtual video visit to see a provider from the comfort of your home

Requesting an online second opinion from our specialists 

To speak to someone directly, please call 1-888-824-0200. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.


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Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition