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5 abdominal pain situations you should never ignore

| December 14, 2018, 10:29 AM

Abdominal Pain: Two words that don’t always point toward a straightforward diagnosis. It could be gas pain, strep throat, appendicitis—or something else. This range of causes makes it difficult to provide simple advice, especially since each child is different and the pain often disappears on its own. That’s why I’ve avoided the minefield of writing about it, until today. At PM Pediatrics, we see many hurting tummies. Here are five abdominal pain situations that require immediate attention.

1.     In Children Under Two

Many parents attribute abdominal pain to colic or gas, but there are serious disorders that should be ruled out. For example, if there is forceful vomiting, it may be pyloric stenosis, where the muscle at the entrance of the small intestine is too tight and limits the digestive process. This needs to be corrected surgically and quickly.

2.     A History of Abdominal Surgeries

Following abdominal surgery at any age, fibrous bands called adhesions can form and cause tension on the intestines. When the segments twist, blood flow is compromised and can cause an obstruction. This is a true emergency.

3.     Nonstop Green Vomiting

Known as bilious emesis, this occurs when there’s an obstruction in, or slow movement of, intestines, and bile fluids/stomach secretions exit the mouth. Common causes include congenital disorders where the gut tube forms incorrectly and compromises blood flow. Bile in vomit requires immediate examination to determine if it is a surgical emergency, or, in mostly older children, a stomach bug.

4.     A Change in the Abdomen’s Appearance

If a child of any age’s abdomen feels tense, hard, and painful, or fuller on one side, the abdomen may have fluid from inflammation, a mass or tumor, or an ovarian cyst. An ultrasound or abdominal CT scan and bloodwork will help diagnose the exact issue.

5.     Blood in Stool

While bright red blood streaks around the edge of stool or on the diaper still require treatment, they’re less concerning than dark red blood mixed within the stool or on its own. This can be a serious situation called intussusception, which occurs in the small intestine or at the junction of the small and large intestine and can compromise blood flow and oxygen supply in the bowel if untreated.

We got through the belly pain minefield!

Even though this is not the complete list of abdominal pain concerns, these five situations require urgent attention. Ask your pediatrician for help if you’re unsure the next time your child says, “My tummy hurts.”


Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

About the Author - Dr. Christina Johns, MD, MEd

Christina Johns, MD, MEd is author of the Dear Dr. Christina blog and the Senior Medical Advisor at PM Pediatrics, the specialized urgent care just for kids from cradle through college. As a parent, pediatrician and pediatric emergency physician with a master’s in education, she shares her own expertise, plus the wealth of knowledge from the network’s highly skilled staff, with patients and families everywhere.

Get everyday health tips, insightful articles and more at deardrchristina.com

PM Pediatrics in Annapolis is located at 2301A Forest Dr., in the Festival at Riva Shopping Center. Open every day until midnight, there’s no appointment needed, and most insurance is accepted. Visit pmpediatrics.com to learn more.

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