Safeguard Your Child From Inflammatory Bowel Disease
“IBD disrupts the functioning of the digestive system severely and prevents the good nutrients and calories from being absorbed by the body”
The irregular eating habits of children often make them succumb to abdominal pain. However, you must not easily dismiss stomach aches as a sign of strange, childhood eating habits, as your child may be suffering from Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
How IBD Affects Children
IBD represents a group of intestinal disorders that causes prolonged inflammation of the inner linings of the digestive tract, including the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and often the rectum. The condition disrupts the functioning of the digestive system severely and prevents the good nutrients and calories from being absorbed into the child’s body, thus also hindering the normal development and growth of the child.
IBD can present itself as either of two chronic diseases – Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. They are majorly caused due to consumption of junk food or unhealthy food, on a regular basis, a poor immune system and often due to genetic disposition.
Usually, abdominal pain occurs between the chest and the pelvic regions. It can manifest in the form of cramps, aches, or dull intermittent or sharp pangs of pain. Few of the main reasons for abdominal pain in children are constipation, indigestion, and inflammation caused as a result of consumed bacteria.
Symptoms (Types Of Abdominal Pains)
However, a child suffering from IBD has become a common occurrence and one needs to pay close attention to the symptoms or pain described by the child. Hence, here are some common types of abdominal pains based on their root cause:
- Pain in the belly due to stomach virus, gas, indigestion or when the child has become constipated
- Gas and bloating may cause cramp- like pain and it may be followed by diarrhoea
- Colicky pain is a severe abdominal pain that comes in waves and it starts and ends suddenly
- Localized pain may occur in one area of the belly. It may be linked to the problems like gallbladder, appendix, ovary, stomach (ulcers) or testicles
Signs To Look Out For
It you observe signs like slowed growth rate, rapid weight loss, tiredness, repeated bouts of diarrhoea, blood in stools, rectal pain, bloating, fevers and anaemia, along with complains of abdominal cramping, then IBD may be the cause. It can also cause health problems that occur outside the digestive system, like inflammation of the joints, eyes, skin and liver.
It Is essential that you call your doctor, as soon as you suspect IBD and ensure that your child gets proper evaluation and treatment. This may involve a faecal calprotectin test to determine the level of inflammation. Based on the results, the doctor may recommend a further colonoscopy, endoscopy or an x-ray called Upper GI to view organs, tissues and other structures in the abdomen in detail and to assess the progression of the condition.
Not all kinds of abdominal pain are preventable. However, it can be minimized by healthy eating habits, consumption of adequate water to prevent constipation, by exercising regularly and by avoiding lying down too soon after eating.