Abdominal Pain in Kids

Abdominal Pain in Kids

Most parents have heard their child complain about an upset stomach at one time or another. The causes can range from constipation or gas to a stomach virus.

But in rare cases, chronic abdominal pain in kids, along with abdominal bloating and distention, may be signs of Sucrose Intolerance caused by Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID).

What is Sucrose Intolerance caused by CSID?

Sucrose Intolerance caused by CSID is a disorder of the small intestine that limits the body’s ability to break sucrose (table sugar) down into glucose and fructose so it can be absorbed. Sucrose is a naturally occurring carbohydrate often found in produce, especially starchy fruits and vegetables and beans and legumes. It’s also frequently added to processed foods such as ice cream, candy, commercial cereals, and sweetened beverages. When sucrose is not broken down and absorbed, it is common for symptoms, such as chronic abdominal pain, gas, bloating and distention, and diarrhea, to show up soon after the child consumes the food containing sucrose.

Infographic - Abdominal Pain in Kids

Abdominal pain in kids may be misdiagnosed.

Symptoms of Sucrose Intolerance caused by CSID are commonly seen in a number of gastrointestinal conditions and disorders. Doctors often label unexplainable digestive issues in young children – such as chronic abdominal pain, abdominal bloating and distention – as chronic, nonspecific diarrhea, also known as “toddler’s diarrhea.” In older children, CSID is commonly misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because cramps, abdominal pain, gas, and intermittent diarrhea are symptoms common to both IBS and CSID.

Chronic abdominal pain, abdominal bloating and distention may also be mistakenly diagnosed as a food allergy or intolerance to foods such as milk, soy, or eggs. However, if the root cause is actually CSID, removing these foods from your child’s diet fails to provide relief from the symptoms. Avoiding IBS-trigger foods such as dairy, fried foods, and high fructose corn syrup also does not provide relief since none of these foods trigger symptoms of CSID.

Causes of abdominal pain in kids: Could it be CSID?

CSID affects people of all ages, starting with infants; but symptoms do not appear in babies until they start ingesting sucrose- and starch-containing foods such as milk-based formula, solid foods, common baby foods, fruit juices, and medications sweetened with sucrose. Infants who are breastfed may not show symptoms until they begin eating foods or liquids containing sucrose.

Chronic abdominal pain and explosive, watery diarrhea that occur within hours of consuming sucrose are two common pediatric symptoms of CSID. Poor physical growth, also called “failure to thrive.” is another. Other symptoms include abdominal bloating, gassiness, chronic colic, irritability, diaper rash and excoriated (abrasions and irritations) buttocks, and vomiting.

CSID is a genetic disease that infants and children do not outgrow. Unfortunately, older children may learn to live with their symptoms and never be properly diagnosed. Young children tend to have diets that are high in sucrose, so proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial for bringing relief. Take the CSID quiz on your child’s behalf and ask your healthcare provider about CSID.

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Sucrose Intolerance May Be More Common Than You Think