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Severe abdominal pain in my 12 year old daughter

(66 Posts)
Castlecellar Sat 29-Jun-13 10:11:37


I have not used this site before but I am at the end of my tether and am really worried about my daughter, I don't know where to turn!

My daughter is 12 years old and has been having severe abdominal pains. She started her periods in January so knows that the pain is different to the normal period pain (as if that wasn't enough, poor girl!). She has had two episodes, one lasting for 10 days in March/April and a current one which has now lasted a week.

The pain seems to move around her abdominal area and up the back, she describes the pain in her back as a knife trying to stab its way out and the stabbing pain can also come and go in the abdominal area. As well as this, she has an ache in her stomach which gets a lot worse when she is moving. During this current episode she has a lot of pain in her upper back too and around the rib cage on the front, she can't bear any pressure on the ribs or tummy. She is also describing the pain going in her hips and down into her thighs. My daughter is a big eater, she loves her food but is off her food with these episodes. She does drink, only water (when normally it would have to have squash in it!). She is also weak and feels like her eyes are going to close. When she does move around she says she thinks she is going to pass out she is so dizzy.

The first episode started in March, she had to have 2 days off school (most of the time was during the Easter holidays) and this time she has had 3 days off school so far.

The first time she had it I took her to the docs and they treated her for a kidney infection as she had blood and protein in her urine and after 2 days of taking the tablets she was better. This time, there are no signs of blood but there was protein, but it is most definitely the same pain. The docs have said that it is likely to be an abdominal migraine, which I had never heard of.

I took her to A&E yesterday morning as the pain was that bad, they did blood tests and checked kidney, pancreas and gall bladder and everything came back negative.

After doing some research, it says that the these migraines can last for one hour to 3 days but hers are much longer. Has anyone experienced any of this? I am sorry for rambling but I thought best to tell everything.

Thank You!!

FriedSprout Mon 08-Jul-13 23:37:22

Hi Castlecellar, sorry that our dd's problem has not been sorted yet. For what it's worth, my dd got a high temperature, felt sick and was in a huge amount of pain. Out of hours GP checked for appendix issues, but said that sometimes appendix did not present as typical when testing, ie usual external checks would not suggest appendix, but she still felt it may be the cause. She sent her to a&e.

After hours in outpatients, she was admitted because of the pain, but still no diagnosis. Stayed with her overnight and in the morning she was screaming with the pain. They still had no idea what the issue was but decided to do an exploratory op.

They found a burst appendix, one of the worst they had seen, "gunk everywhere" (technical term).

My point, if there is one, is that all of the physical checks they did prior to operating, pressing on area etc. and none of them flagged her appendix other than the degree of pain, sickness and high temperature.

My dd had never presented with any indication of problems prior to that day.

I so hope that you get to the bottom of your dd's problem, don't be afraid to ring for an ambulance if her pain gets too bad. If that out of hours GP had been blinkered to 'non-typical presenting appendix', my dd might have been in even worse trouble.

SofiaAmes Mon 08-Jul-13 21:28:57

Castlecellar have they tried giving her migraine medicine like Imitrex or Frova? If it is a migraine you should be seeing a neurologist rather than a gastroenterologist. It really sounds like migraines to me. My ds started with headache migraines and would get this glazed look in his eyes (if he wasn't 9, I would have sworn he was stoned) and one eye slightly more squinting than the other. I recognized that his abdominal migraine was just that because although he didn't have a headache and had a sharp stomach ache, he had that "stoned" squinting look in his eyes. Ds thought I was crazy because I was so sure it was a head migraine that I kept asking him if he had a headache and he kept telling me it was his tummy not his I just couldn't seem to tell the difference. Tummy pain went straight away as soon as I gave him the Frova (Imitrex didn't work on ds). A dark room and audiobooks are really helpful and relaxing too. I bought ds an ipad and a subscription to when his migraines were at their worst.

RandomMess Mon 08-Jul-13 20:59:18

Thanks for the update, I have been concerned. When is your private appointment?

Castlecellar Mon 08-Jul-13 20:57:23

Hi, thank you all for your messages. We were admitted to hospital on Thursday afternoon with suspected appendicitis once again. Once again the surgeons came and said it wasn't but they were going to perform a laparoscopy the following day if there was no change. After explaining to her about the procedure they put her on nil by mouth from midnight. At 10am the following morning, after a stressfull night with a very nervous/ scared daughter, they decided to cancel the procedure! They didn't really give me any reasons.
On Sunday she started to feel a bit better and started eating a bit more so we were discharged. She is still in pain and not able to go to school but not too bad. We still don't have a diagnosis, but they have said they will be doing an endoscopy as an outpatient in about 4 weeks time.
As she is still unable to go back to school, we have decided to keep the private appointment with a Paediatrician Gastro specialist to see if they can come up with a diagnosis.
The saga continues........
I will keep you updated

notapizzaeater Fri 05-Jul-13 20:49:59

Hope you got some answers

CinnamonAddict Fri 05-Jul-13 14:00:07

Hope your dd is ok.

SoggySummer Fri 05-Jul-13 00:03:16

How is your DD today?

RandomMess Thu 04-Jul-13 18:33:04

HOpe you get some answers very soon, your poor dd sad

MrsGSR Thu 04-Jul-13 00:02:35

Just to add to whats been said about appendicitis, my sister had it last year. She had bad pain for a few days in January, then it cane back in July, when she had her appendix removed and was told that was the pain she had in January was probably a previous flare up of the appendix, which supprised me as I didn't realise that happened!

mumofapirate Wed 03-Jul-13 23:17:00

hope you get some answers tomorrow op. I've heard about abdominal migraine but like you've already said it wouldn't last 12 days

SofiaAmes Wed 03-Jul-13 22:22:12

CinnamonAddict, I have had this happen multiple times. The way it was explained to me by the surgeon who did finally take ds' appendix (infected) out. He said that until the appendix is in his hands, he can't tell for sure if it's infected. In ds' case he had some classic symptoms and a few odd ones that were not usual (as ds does) but the surgeon felt that he wanted to operate without doing a scan as no matter what the scan said, he wouldn't feel comfortable that it was correct and he was "95%" sure that ds had appendicitis. This same surgeon had seen ds 2 years earlier when pediatrician had sent him to emergency as he was sure he had appendicitis and the surgeon had not even done a scan because he was confident that he did not have appendicitis. We now know that it was probably an abdominal migraine (ds had not yet been diagnosed with migraines at that point). The symptoms are very very similar.

CinnamonAddict Wed 03-Jul-13 21:42:00

Castle I'm glad you are still so very much on her case. Tbh I find it odd that one doc definitely diagnosed appendix and the next rules it out again. Rollercoaster.
All the best for you and dd.

SofiaAmes Wed 03-Jul-13 19:06:07

Yes! I learned very early on that illness doesn't always follow the instructions. My ds had all sorts of symptoms that the doctors "had never seen before." He went blind for 3 days a few years ago from a migraine. His wonderful neurologist luckily had the sense to suggest that we try to treat it with migraine medicine before sending him to the hospital for a spinal tap (opthamologist's suggestion). I asked her if she had ever seen a migraine like this before and her response was no, but given ds' track record of weird symptoms, she was absolutely positive it was a migraine (and it turned out to be...his vision started coming back within hours of taking the medicines). He had abdominal migraines that lasted a week. And episodes of Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome (a migraine related condition) that lasted 2 weeks.
Please Google Dr. Boles and Cyclical Vomiting Syndrome (CVS) and you will find lots of papers on how he is successfully treating his patients. It may be that the high doses of L-carnitine and CoQ10 might just work on your dd and are so much better than the awful migraine drugs that ds was taking before.

By the way, it's my understanding that migraines start presenting in girls around puberty and they can be exacerbated by hormonal fluctuations. I believe that they are sometimes treated successfully by putting the girls on the pill (I know, not what you were planning for your 12 year old).

Castlecellar Wed 03-Jul-13 18:49:25

Could abdominal migraines last 12 days? I have had a look online but it seems that most are a maximum of 3 days.
She is still in the same pain today but has felt even more nauseous.
I have decided to book a private gastro doctor , am hoping we can get an appointment tomorrow. If it is abdominal migraine then hopefully we can eliminate some more things with a endoscopy

SofiaAmes Wed 03-Jul-13 07:21:48

It sounds like abdominal migraines. My ds had several rounds of suspected appendicitis until he got diagnosed with migraines. He had all sorts of other odd symptoms and finally last year we got him diagnosed with Functional Mitochondrial Disease as the cause of all the various issues he'd had for his first 11 years (migraines, cyclical vomiting, chronic fatigue, stomach aches, speech and visual issues, etc) and got him on a treatment of high doses of L-Carnitine and CoQ10 and he is now completely "cured." He'll have to take the high dose supplements for the rest of his life, but since they have absolutely no adverse side effects...and he's been healthy for a whole year, we're not complaining. Here's a fantastic website with information about Functional Mitochondrial Disease. The gp's are only just starting to even know it exists as a disease as it's only a few years that they can even do genetic testing on your mitochondria (my ds was lucky enough to have his done by a colleague of my father's as the insurance would never have paid for USA). Ds' specialist finds that he often is able to diagnose and treat children with "vague" symptoms that other doctors send from one specialist to the next (tummy aches, headaches, chronic fatigue and/or general malaise seem to be common symptoms). Best of luck. I know how awful it can be having a child who is clearly in pain and having the doctors all scratch their head. (Over the years, I had a lot of accusations that my ds' illnesses were exaggerated/fabricated by me and it was so wonderful to get a real diagnosis and name to his disease AND to get a cure for it)

wannabestressfree Wed 03-Jul-13 07:06:01

I had lots of episodes like this at 11 and throughout my teenage years. I was told I had 'colic' etc.
I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in my early twenties. It's difficult to see and is better looked at during a flare up. I hope she feels better soon x

Whataloser Wed 03-Jul-13 06:57:45

AIBU is am i being unreasonable it's a thread subject that has a high flow of traffic so someone will be able to answer.

If anyone thinks its appendicitis say you want to have the appendix removed, that they routinely remove it in boys if they have stomach pains even if no evidence if its not appendix. And once they are in there, if the appendix is not inflamed could they take the opportunity to look in surrounding area to see if they can see the cause.

Castlecellar Wed 03-Jul-13 06:22:51

What is the AIBU ?

notapizzaeater Tue 02-Jul-13 23:41:10

I'd take her back, my hubby has appendix and because they didn't believe that's what it was he ended up in a bed for 3 months whilst they kept running test after test, they eventually went in to have a look because it was Xmas and they wanted him out. His appendix had adhered to his bowel ....

BlameItOnTheBogey Tue 02-Jul-13 23:33:01

I'd also start keeping a log of who you are seeing, when and what they are saying. And I 'd make it known that you were doing that. It's awful that you have to get arsey to get any answers but you are your daughters only advocate and it doesn't appear that anyone is giving you the time you need at the moment.

Good luck

StitchAteMySleep Tue 02-Jul-13 20:39:27

Found this and thought it might help you. With back, pelvic, stomach and leg pain it could be nerve related.

ExcuseTypos Tue 02-Jul-13 20:25:21

I agree with Cinnamon, if she gets any worse take her back and insist she is admitted for observation. They cannot keep sending you away without any answers. They've seen her in acute pain they should find out what's causing it.

It's their job!

CinnamonAddict Tue 02-Jul-13 20:18:09

Please take her back to a&e if she is getting worse. It sounds an absolute nightmare. Have a brew and keep an eye on her.

Castlecellar Tue 02-Jul-13 18:38:31

Yes sent home again. They have done a test for helicopbacter which I will have the results for in 4 weeks with an outpatient appointment. He said send her to school and give her whatever she wants to eat! I'm not evil, she can have whatever she wants to eat , she just can't eat she feels too full up. She can't go to school , she is in too much pain. It's a 40 min drive back from the hospital and now the morphine has worn off she was in tears the whole time. The paediatrician said to prescribe omerpazole, which slightly concerned me as she was already on those and it was on her notes. He said to give it another week. I know these people are experts but out of 6 doctors we have been told, abdominal migraine, mid period cycle pain, gallstones, appendicitis, helicopbacter and acid ggggrrrrrrr

ExcuseTypos Tue 02-Jul-13 16:26:53

You poor things.

Is she still in pain Castle? If so I'd take her straight back to A and E and say you aren't moving until someone finds out what is wrong with her.

If you have time, I think I'd be inclined to start a thread in AIBU. Something like 'Please help, I'm so worried about my DD' would gets lots of attention. It might just get someone answering who's been in the same situation.

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