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Bad tummy pains in 8 year old - any ideas?

(22 Posts)
lme30005 Thu 24-May-12 10:53:15


I'm really worried about my 8 year old DS who has had bad tummy pains for over a week now. He came home from school with tummy pains and was sick once 24hrs later. Tummy pains stayed and he was sick again 24hrs later. He hasn't been sick since but the tummy pains have stayed (6 days since last time he was sick)
It's really strange because he will be fine in the morning but by afternoon/evening the tummy pains are back and it keeps him awake at night. Last night he was crying because he said it hurt so much.
I don't think it was a bug as none of the rest of us caught it and that never happens! Also he still had an appetite throughout apart from when the pains were really bad
I took him to the doc yesterday and she couldn't find anything wrong, just to leave it a bit longer and then go in for blood tests. But it's so hard when he's miserable and crying at night.
Any ideas what it could be? Could it be a long recovery from a virus? I'm now thinking maybe he could have a food allergy to something as it builds up during the day. He has had eczema since he was a baby and has always been a bit sickly - catches everything going, mouth sores etc.
I just want to help him but apart from ibuprofen and a hot water bottle I feel a bit helpless.



rockinhippy Thu 24-May-12 11:55:59

Not knowing WHERE he feels the pain I'm just throwing this in as it was the first thing that sprang to mind - did your GP do a pressure test for Appendicitis ?? -

Physical exam to assess your pain. Your doctor may apply gentle pressure on the painful area. When the pressure is suddenly released, appendicitis pain will often feel worse, signaling that the adjacent peritoneum is inflamed. Other signs your doctor may watch for include abdominal rigidity and a tendency to stiffen your abdominal muscles in response to pressure over the inflamed appendix or guarding

I'm asking as IME it can be missed - I saw 2 GPs & both diagnosed gastric flu - our friends son appendicitis was also missed - & both parents are Drs (she was mortified)

That said, my own DD has had suspected Appendicitis, awful pain & sent to A&E by our GP - it turned of to be Colitis - which is inflammation of the colon

my own DD has had a lot of stomach problems over the years, eventually an IBS diagnosis, but its aggravated by artificial additives, sweeteners, preservatives etc & the lactose in milk & mild/fresh cheeses - at the time she took very ill & the irritation to her colon was so bad it became colitis, she was taking antibiotics for a chest infection - it was the additives, colours, flavourings etc that caused the problem for her.

Also is he feeling stressed at all ?? - exam time at School perhaps ?? - stress badly effects my DDs stomach problems, though thankfully she's confident with school work, bully problems have had her very ill in the past

If your GP didn't do this press & release test, try it yourself & if it hurts more on release take him down to A&E -

hope he's okay - good luck to you both

ajandjjmum Thu 24-May-12 11:59:11

I remember DD crying with tummy pain when she had worms (urghh!). Easily solved though.

rockinhippy Thu 24-May-12 12:12:58

I should have added - Apparently we have Lymph glands in our stomachs, which are more prone to flaring up & hurting in DCs, so if your DS is fighting a bug, it could be something as simple as that that is the cause of his pain

but if YOU feel his pain is severe & he's not normally so distressed when he deals with pain, then do take my first post more seriously.

cocolepew Thu 24-May-12 12:14:25

Is he constipated? Or eating someone that isn't agreeing with him.

lme30005 Thu 24-May-12 12:15:12

The doc felt his tummy - not sure if she did that test. He says it hurts in the middle, around his belly button.

He does have Sats type tests at the moment and he is a worrier but he doesn't seem to be bothered by the tests, unless it is very subconscious.

The other thing that I thought of was abdominal migraines as I had them as a child and now have head migraines. But it has been going on over a week so can't see a migraine lasting that long.

I'll check the worms thing, thanks

cocolepew Thu 24-May-12 12:17:36

If it's around his belly button it could be appendicitis.

rockinhippy Thu 24-May-12 12:22:02

Take him down to A&E - if its around his belly button then its a real potential worry - especially if you press on it & it hurts most when you release pressure.

personally I'd rather look like an over anxious Mum than not get him checked for appendicitis - the way you describe it above it does sound like at very least you need your mind putting at rest

cocolepew Thu 24-May-12 12:25:15

I would take him to A&E as well, I wouldn't leave pain around the belly button TBH.

Good luck smile

lme30005 Thu 24-May-12 12:33:36

The doc did mention glands but couldn't feel anything, and doesn't think he's constipated either.

Does appendicitis come on gradually and be quite intermittent? I did think it could be that but i thought it would have got worse a lot quicker. I'll do the test when he comes home from school. He wasn't too bad this morning but will probably go downhill once I pick him up

rockinhippy Thu 24-May-12 12:41:04

YES - it can "grumble" for months before it becomes dangerous

lme30005 Sun 27-May-12 13:33:03

My DS is still in pain, but only at night. He seems fine during the day so has improved a bit but every night he's awake crying with the pain. I don't think it's appendix.

Anyone have any idea why it might come on at night? I don't think he constipated although haven't ruled it out. My only other theory is a food intolerance that builds up during the day

He had a bad night last night and was very bunged up and nasally this morning. He also suffers from mouth ulcers and looks pale a lot of the time. Any ideas whether these are food allergy symptoms?


rockinhippy Sun 27-May-12 15:42:24

You really need to do the responsible thing & get him seen again & evaluated medically if he's in that much pain every night, then "not thinking" its appendicitis is IMHO a bit dangerous & it needs properly ruling out & whatever it is, you also need to make a fuss & get him a referral to a gastro Doctor

No IME it doesn't sound like allergy or intolerance, they don't build up like that & the pattern of pain would be down to having eaten certain foods, NOT due to a build up during the day - my DD is intolerant to certain foods & whatever time she eats them it will trigger a reaction, usually within half hour or so - NOT wait until the evening.

That said - have you tried keeping a food & symptoms diary ?? - look for patterns in his reactions to foods in that - its possible if there is something he has in the late afternoon/evening triggers this reaction, though I would expect you to have sussed that out by now as it would likely be obvious.

Any chance it could be stress related ?? - quiet time at home & him thinking more can trigger IBS flare ups - it has with my DD - she'd seem fine, but bed time & lying worrying about problems at School would have her doubled up with diareah

Also does he use a steroid asthma inhaler ?? - apparently that can also cause stomach pain, as it thins the stomach lining

rockinhippy Sun 27-May-12 15:57:12

Coeliac Disease is something else to consider, its not an allergy per se, but does carry a lot of the symptoms you describe, but due to deficiency of vitamins & minerals caused by malabsorption - though IME not the evening pain problem - its also hereditary, so if nobody else in your family has it, he won't either.


Also does he eat well ?? - I mean a good nutritionally balanced diet ?? - if not, the other symptoms might well be due to that & lack of nutrition - if he's a fussy eater give him something like Spirulina, which is packed full of good stuff & is all natural

Artificial sweeteners & benzoate preservative can also cause stomach pain & diareah - so is it possible he eats/drinks something with these in the evening ??

MissBetsyTrotwood Sun 27-May-12 19:38:56

Right - last summer DS1 had very similar symptoms. Fine in the morning, eating, drinking. Then, early afternoon, stomach cramps followed by vomiting. This went on for 10 days. Initially the GP said it was a virus (of course) but I really felt it was something different.

Eventually, he was getting so weak I took him to the doctor again and he referred him to the local Paediatric A&E. We went home after the appointment and he explained they'd call us and tell us when to go in; they called almost immediately and said he was to come in as a matter of urgency.

He had a stomach X ray and it turned out he had chronic constipation. He'd still been pooing, which I didn't understand could be a symptom. He'd not pooed much over the illness but I thought it was because he had been vomiting so much. The X ray showed his gut was blocked so it was contracting violently to try to shift the blockage when food got there and when it couldn't get through the vomiting began.

He'd had a long period of illness before - lots of tonsillitis and then chicken pox and the Consultant thought, along with not drinking much might have caused it. Movicol in gradually lessening doses was prescribed and he got better. We still have to manage it and keep a watchful eye on his fluid intake but it's getting better.

I'd have him referred if possible so you can see what's going on.

lme30005 Sun 27-May-12 22:49:21

Thanks for your responses.
In terms of food, he eats really well and a lot of it for his size. He doesn't drink anything other than water and has sweets very rarely so artificial stuff doesn't come into his diet that much. I have been racking my brains as to what he's been eating. The only thing was that he had an easy night of only 2 hours of pains when he'd had no bread products that day.
I have done the appendix test of pressing on his tummy although I will of course raise that again with the doc. I had a good feel of his tummy earlier and he says he hurts around and just below belly button, but not the sides.
I was wondering about stress as he's just had his week of qca tests or whatever they're called. And he is being teased about something at school. We have to drag the info out of him about his worries though
The constipation thing sounds really similar. He is 'going' but not as much as usual. I always thought the initial sickness was due to the pain rather than a virus. My other DS is on movicol but was never in pain with his constipation.
I will try and get another doc appt tmw, easier said than done when they don't answer the phone for hours and then say the appts are all gone!
Thanks again

rockinhippy Mon 28-May-12 00:08:14

Thats good re his diet, though not so good for an easy answer

Re your mention of less pain with no bread - wheat is one of the more difficult to digest foods, it can affect a lot of people, especially if their digestive system is already under any stress, so it's not necessarily the actual bread that is the cause, but it could make it all worse IYSWIM

When my own DDs IBS flares up - for example a while back she was having a lot of problems at school, (bullying from her friends & we had to drag that out of her too sad ) - she gets the opposite problem with bad stomach pain & bouts of diarreah - I've learned that to help it settle down quickly & take the pressure of her digestive system, you maybe need to cut out the hard to digest foods for a little while - so no wheat & diary & also meat if he eats it - I've seen the hospital Nutritionist with DD, (referred by the Gastro) & she agreed that was the right thing to do….. also, IF its white bread that your DS is eating, then that along with white rice, pasta etc are all bulking foods - bread most so -

so if it is constipation - that could be why he;s better without bread - either its just his system is overloaded & can't cope with difficult foods - OR white bread is bunging him up more

The Nutritionalist did say that apple juice is the most laxative of fruit juices - it was the only thing we were doing wrong, as we'd wrongly presumed orange & were letting her drink apple instead

Sooo - maybe try getting him to drink lots of apple juice, from what we were told at the hospital - it could help soften things for him

I would say more food roughage too, just until he sees a medic - but if it is a blockage, that might not be such a good idea - but apple juice might be worth a try

& yes, we have that problem getting a GP appointment too, but I was given a great tip by a friend who works at a different surgery - when they say no appointments left - tell them you need an emergency appointment - it's not the same as emergency for A&E, just means you need seeing quickly - which by the sounds of it, he does - they then have to fit you inwink

I really hope you get it sorted out soon, its no fun for either of you sad

differentnameforthis Mon 28-May-12 03:18:02

My dd started off with what I thought was gastro (diarrhea & vomiting). Once that went, she was left with a tummy ache that was worse in the evenings. She was at school all day, but come dinner time, she was pale & curled up in pain. She didn't want to eat, so I was giving her a nutritional supplement to help her. But during the day, she was eating normally.

Took her to A&E, who xrayed her & found a huge impaction. She was pooing, but what was coming out was getting pushed past the impaction, so I didn't think of constipation at all. We needed a strong laxative for several days to clear it & now I keep an eye on her toilet habits.

I really think you need to get it seen to again, my dds dr didn't dx constipation either.

lme30005 Mon 28-May-12 17:12:18

rockinhippy - That totally makes sense about him probably not being intolerant to wheat, but its the heavier and harder to digest foods making it worse. He does love his bread and is a big meat eater so I'll have to try and limit it a bit and try and get more fruit and veg in.

Thanks for the tip re apple juice, I have some in the fridge so will be giving him some later

Differentnameforthis & MissBetsyTrotwood - It does seem like a very similar thing to what your dd and ds had. Hopefully that's all it is.

I will make an emergency doc appt tmw and see what happens. Hopefully they'll give me something to help him

Thanks again


lme30005 Mon 28-May-12 17:24:05

DS also interestingly just told me that it hurts in his tummy when he tries to go for a poo. Maybe there is a blockage if it hurts when he's trying to move things along?

cricket15 Thu 27-Jul-17 15:21:55

I'm really hoping someone will still reply to this as it says this post hasn't had a comment in over a year. My 8 year old son is having the same exact issues. Fine during the day but by late afternoon he's in severe pain. Goes on off and on all night. Took him to the emergency room and they did a CT to check his appendix but they said it was fine. Has only been having small bowel movements. This has been going on for almost 1 week. I'm desperate for answers. Taking him back to the er today.

Makinglists Sun 30-Jul-17 08:23:36

Did you get this sorted? We have just had an almost identical illness in Ds2 age 6. He was diagnosed with meseteric adonitis ie swollen glands. When he had an attack he was in agony. He has a slight could/cold now but we have gone 4 days wirhout an episode. Hope your Dc is on the mend

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