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Avatar universal

13 year-old with severe abdominal pain

First, I want to apologize for the long post. I'm trying to get some idea of what might be going on with my daughter, age 13.

4 weeks ago, she had what was diagnosed as the "stomach flu" consisting of vomiting 4-5x/day for 3 days (1/20-22.). The following Monday (1/26), after feeling perfectly fine for 3 days, she started experiencing severe pain in her upper abdomen, in the center up near her ribcage. PCP ruled out muscle strain (she's a competitive tumbler) and appendicitis. Prescribed Prilosec and ordered abdominal ultrasound. Ultrasound on 1/27. showed minor "sludge" in gall bladder but nothing else (stomach, pancreas, liver, aorta, spleen all fine). Tues (1/27). night, I found her curled up on the floor, in so much pain she couldn't get up. Took her to ER where the check blood counts (all fine). Gave her some Mylanta, ordered a HIDA scan for 1/28. At first, gall bladder wouldn't show on the HIDA scan, but after an injection of Morphine and some hormone (don't remember what) gall bladder appeared. No stones, but some "slight" inflammation detected. All this time, she is still in severe pain, unable to participate in normal activities or eat very well.

PCP referred us to a general surgeon for evaluation. This took place 2/9. After evaluation, surgeon not convinced of a gall bladder issue and referred us to a pediatric gastroenterologist. Saw him 2/13. After several questions, he suggested the problem was not gastro related but rather muscular. I put my daughter back on her regular schedule activity wise, but she was afraid to eat much until today (2/16).

Up to today, she was progressively feeling a bit better. Pain always there but not as severe; able to eat somewhat normally, minus any greasy or fatty foods. On a hunch, I decided to let her eat something a little greasy, partly because she was feeling better and begging, and partly because I wanted to validate my concern that the issue she's having has something to do with her digestive system somewhere. As expected, within about 1 hour of eating lunch, she started complaining that her pain was back.  It has progressively gotten worse from there, and she had to quit practice today because all the "jiggly" around was making it worse.

I must also say that about 1 week ago, she started feeling nauseous, ALL THE TIME. I attributed this to her being unable and afraid to eat, but now I'm not so sure. She has had no fever, no vomiting or diarrhea, nothing but pain that wakes her up at night and nausea. I am at a loss as to what to do now. My once highly active teenager is losing weight, losing sleep, and feeling miserable.

Any ideas of what to do next?
5 Responses
681148 tn?1437665191
I'm pretty sure she should have an ultrasound on her gallbladder, which is a harmless and painless procedure.  

I would also check into food sensitivities, which is done by going through the long process of a food elimination challenge diet.  I suggest finding a naturopath to guide you through this process.  Thirteen years old is old enough to know whether or not she has GI issues or not.  I suspect it's still GI issues myself.  A lot of people have food sensitivities and don't know it.  The basic overview of an elimination diet is that the person avoids everything on the list provided by the naturopath of things that are common allergens that a person may be sensitive to that don't show up as "true" allergies when seeing an allergist for those skin tests.  A big issue for people involves gluten and dairy.  I think it's worth checking into.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the suggestion. I agree that an elimination diet is something worth looking into, although, she's never had a problem with any foods before. We were back at the ER Monday night and again yesterday (for a CT scan). We didn't end up doing the scan because they couldn't get an IV in and I was tired of them torturing her to do it.  We've scheduled a CT scan with her regular doctor for Friday morning, and I'm hoping they'll find something. She had an ultrasound of the gall bladder, along with the rest of her abdominal area and all they found was a little sludge. We may have that repeated to see if there's any change.

The poor kid is miserable and I hope to find a resolution soon.  She's missed so much school and practice that she's WAY behind.
Avatar universal
I'm sorry about your daughter's pain. I have a sixteen year old niece who is experiencing something that started out similarly.She actually had surgery to remove what the dr. thought was a twisted fat pad (surrounds the organs). They did not find it, but took out her appendix because they were in there, and checked her reproductive organs, etc. Well, that was 2 weeks before Xmas, and she is still in pain. She went thru the vomiting, nausea, etc. Now, she is passing out after anytime she eats, with seizure like activity, including severe paranoia, and partial paralysis of an arm. She has been thru every test imaginable by gastro., neuro., cardio., several trips to the ER, several days at Children's Hospital, testing at Cleveland clinic. Alot of the doctor's have referred her to psych. but my sister seems resistant to that . What I have learned thru these months of her illness is that there are alot of disorders I had certainly never heard of. Check out metabolic disorders and see if you can find symptoms that match. Good luck with your daughter
Avatar universal
I to have a daughter who when she was 13 became sick like your daughter went to the same doctors you did also had ultrasound on her ovaries she has since been to 2 different hospitals in hopes that some doctor would reconize these symptons and help releieve her discomfort final result is her gallbladder was not functioning at all and she also is lactose intolant which she never was before and they are still testing her for more food allergies
I hope these helps somewhat and all I tell you and your daughter is that you are not alone we have been going to doctors for three years and they have just now come up with these result my daughter also got behind in school and because of no diagonios they school would not except her missing school and now she is in cyberschool  only until she is better because she does miss every at the regular school but the stress level for that worry is not there
Avatar universal
Well, we're going for a CT scan tomorrow morning, so hopefully we will know more then. I've never considered the possibility that she could have developed a food allergy, as there aren't any known food allergies or lactose intolerance in our family.  I'm a little skeptical, but only because she hasn't had any vomiting or diarrhea with her pain. Thanks to all for your advice and support.
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