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Children's Health

8 Year Old with Abdominal Pain after Eating

02/01/2011

Question:

My 8 year old daughter was taking a pain/fever medication due to her being ill with the flu. However the medication was recalled and I did not know it until after she had taken quite a few doses and as soon as I found out about the recall I stopped giving it to her. Our problem now is that she is constantly getting abdominal pain and it usually occurs after her eating meat, spaghetti sauces, cheese etc. It lasts for at least 30 minutes or more after her eating and her stomach gets really hard. What could be causing this? Could it be from the recalled medication? She does not have constipation or diarrhea. Her pain gets so bad that all she does is lay and cry. There is a family history of gall bladder disease among other stomach related problems. I had my gall bladder removed. She seen a gastro doctor and he said she has eosiniophilic esophagitis (not sure if I spelled this right) however the medicines that we have tried for this condition have not given her any relief whatsoever. Her pain is in her upper abdomen,right above her belly button and sometimes radiates to the right side. I am so tired of seeing my child in pain and would like some possibilities of what could be causing this so that I know what to ask the doctors to check for. Please HELP!!!

Answer:

Abdominal pain in children is common but the symptoms suggest that further evaluation by a pediatric gastroenterologist is indicated to exclude gastritis or ulcer. 

Typically eosinophilic esophagitis does not cause severe pain like you are describing. Gall bladder disease in an 8 year old is not common but does occur. It is possible that no cause may be found for the pain and it may be called functional. There are therapies for functional which include both medical (drugs) as well as behavioral treatments. These should be directed by a pediatric gastroenterologist.

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Response by:

James E Heubi, MD James E Heubi, MD
Professor and Associate Chair of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati