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Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: Annoying tummy ache in 7yr old girl


 seamonster - Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:03 pm

Good afternoon,
My 7 yr old daughter is healthy and ave weight/height for her age. She has had grommets inserted twice in her ears and her adenoids removed. She has been suffering from on/off tummy aches for the past 2 yrs. We have found she is lactose intolerant and so keep her milk intake reduced. She has normal bowel movements and has no hesitation in going to the toilet. We have been keeping a food dairy but nothing seems to be consistent when the ache flares up. It can be morning, evening etc. She describes it as being hit with a basketball. We have dewormed her, and tried antacids to no avail. Heat and junior paracetamol seems to work. Would you have any suggestions as to what we might try from here? I appreciate any suggestions of things we could try as she is a dancer/swimmer and this tends to slow her down. She is in a happy stable home (spoilt if anything) so stress does'nt seem to be an issue. Thank you for your time in reading this
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:46 pm

User avatar Abdominal pain in children is very common and often difficult to determine exactly what is causing it. Often it will be a food allergy as you have suspected. Lactose is a common food intolerance. The other foods that cause about 80% of allergy problems are: soy, wheat, eggs, fish, shell fish, peanuts, and tree nuts.

There are a few ways to proceed. One would be to try a strict elimination diet where all these foods are taken out of the diet for a month to see if the pain resolves. If it does, the foods can be added back in one at a time to see which was causing the problems.

The other way would be to see a gastroenterologist. The GI specialist can do a few tests. I would recommend she be tested for celiac disease. The GI specialist may also want to do an endoscopy where they use a small camera to look in the esophagus, stomach and first part of the intestines. They'll look for any inflammation and causes of pain as well as take biopsies to see if there is any pathological changes going on.

If the biopsy doesn't show changes consistent with allergic reactions then the food elimination may not be necessary. Also, the food allergies are not the typical allergy pathway so using things like benadryl generally does not help. Because of the different pathway the allergy skin testing, which is often recommended, is actually not helpful so I would recommend against having that done.

There are a few non-GI causes as well but the first place to look would be the stomach.

The key to figuring these problems out is persistence. It can be a long trail sometimes. Also, keep in mind that almost 100% of the time this pain will go away eventually even if a cause is never found.

Best wishes. I hope this helps some.
 seamonster - Wed Jul 04, 2007 11:53 pm

Thank you for your prompt reply. I did forget to mention we have tested for celiac disease and that was negative. But I will continue to try and eliminate foods and see if that helps or hinders. If that does'nt seem to work then I will look at your suggestion of taking it further. I am hopeful though that this does turn out to resolve on it's own. Again, many thanks for your time and patience in getting back to me.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:17 am

User avatar Just as a word of reassurrance, this really is a very common problem and nearly 100% of the time it will eventually get better on its own.

If a cause can be found it is nice because the pain can be treated faster.

Best wishes. Please feel free to post follow ups if you have any further questions.

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