Chronic Abdominal Pain
Chronic abdominal pain is identified as pain that is present for more than three months at a time. According to Norton J. Greenberger of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in his article “Chronic Abdominal and Recurring Abdominal Pain,” chronic abdominal pain is more prevalent in children than in adults and occurs more frequently in females than males.
Typically, this problematic symptom may be caused by many different factors, including food intolerances, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), reflux, or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Those who suffer from chronic abdominal pain may also have other gastrointestinal symptoms including chronic bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal distention.
In most cases, abdominal distention is not serious and gets better without treatment. However, when abdominal distention and pain persists and interferes with your ability to live a normal life, treatment may be needed.
To effectively treat chronic abdominal pain, the cause of the pain must be identified. Occasionally, a child or adult may be suffering from a function gastrointestinal disorder where no apparent cause can be determined. However, it is important to seek medical advice when abdominal pain is interfering with your normal daily activities.
Determining the Cause of Chronic Abdominal Pain
Determining the cause of chronic abdominal pain may not be easy since many possible conditions can cause this symptom. When chronic abdominal pain is accompanied by poor physical growth (specifically in children), gassiness, distention, and diarrhea or constipation, Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID) may be to blame.
CSID, which can cause Sucrose Intolerance symptoms, is caused when you lack function of the enzyme known as sucrase, which is needed for sucrose digestion. When you have CSID and consume sucrose, or table sugar, you may develop gastrointestinal symptoms that include chronic abdominal pain.
Where is Dietary Sucrose Found?
Sucrose is prevalent in many foods and can be found in all grain products and some fruits and vegetables. Upon consumption of sucrose, your symptoms may occur relatively quickly or they may be significantly delayed. Moreover, some of you may experience mild gastrointestinal symptoms while others may experience severe gastrointestinal symptoms including chronic bloating and abdominal pain. Chronic abdominal pain in children may be misdiagnosed as “toddler’s diarrhea” or, in older children, misdiagnosed as IBS.
While it may be difficult to pinpoint a cause of chronic abdominal pain, your physician may be able to suggest further testing for you or your child. Your physician may suggest keeping a daily food journal to track food intake and symptoms. Your physician may also refer you or your child to a gastroenterologist.
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