Causes of abdominal pain in childhood

Causes of abdominal pain in childhood

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While abdominal pain is of great concern to parents, its severity varies widely. Depending on its time of evolution, it can be classified into acute abdominal pain (if it lasts a few days) or chronic (if it lasts at least a month). The causes that can motivate one and the other are innumerable.

Depending on the symptoms that accompany abdominal pain, and the duration of the pain, four possible causes can develop.

Acute appendicitis: Clinically, it presents with fever (temperature between 37 and 37.5º), vomiting and intense abdominal pain, constant, progressive in intensity, which is initially diffuse and later focuses on the lower right part of the abdomen. For its diagnosis, the main thing is to take a good medical history and a detailed physical examination. As a complement, we can request an abdominal ultrasound and / or a blood test. Its treatment is surgical.

Ganglion abdominal pain: Just as we have nodes in the neck, there are also nodes near the intestine. When these increase in size, the pain can resemble that of acute appendicitis (the lower right part also hurts), but it is not usually as intense. The child also usually has catarrhal symptoms. Treatment consists of administering painkillers on demand.

Abdominal pain from gastroenteritis: it presents with diffuse abdominal pain and colic ('it appears, becomes more intense and then goes away'). It is accompanied by vomiting and loose stools. Sometimes there is also a fever or low-grade fever. This pain is sometimes relieved with conventional painkillers (paracetamol, ibuprofen, metamizole), but it does not respond as well as in other pain, such as headache or musculoskeletal pain.

Long-term or chronic abdominal pain: it accounts for 3% of pediatric consultations. Its prevalence increases with age, and has a recurrent nature (it comes and goes over time). The exact cause is unknown, although most of these children have a problem of high sensitivity to pain, as well as a psychological factor (stress, high level of demand in studies, etc.). In this picture, it is not usually necessary to do complementary examinations, unless there are warning signs. These include: pain away from the navel, nocturnal awakenings, presence of blood in the stool, vomiting, fever, joint swelling, weight loss, and a family history of inflammatory bowel disease.

Finally, it should be remembered that abdominal pain is not always due to a problem in the digestive tract. Entities such as pulmonary base pneumonia, lower face heart attacks, diabetes, or rare metabolic diseases such as porphyria can also cause it.

You can read more articles similar to Causes of abdominal pain in childhood, in the category of Childhood Illnesses on site.

Video: Abdominal Pain in Children, Lesli Taylor, MD (May 2022).