What Causes Abdominal Pain?

Abdominal pain is one of those “invisible symptoms” of subjectively experienced discomfort that people can’t understand if they haven’t also had the experience. Abdominal pain associated with Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltase Deficiency (CSID) can range from mild to severe, depending in part on the amount of sucrose one has eaten but is unable to digest and absorb from the small intestine.

Food that is not absorbed from the small intestine moves on to the large intestine, where it is digested via fermentation by the normal intestinal bacteria that reside there. The byproducts of such fermentation include the gases hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

If you have excess gas in your lower GI tract, it stands to reason it puts pressure on your abdomen. After all, the excess gas takes up space, which means the abdomen has to expand to make room for the gas. That is the cause of abdominal bloating in individuals with CSID.

Toddlers and young children with CSID may experience more severe or more frequent episodes of abdominal pain than their adult counterparts. The manifestations of abdominal pain related to CSID in infants or toddlers may be mistaken for chronic colic or irritability.

In adults, the GI symptoms related to CSID may be subtler. In fact, some individuals born with CSID may be able to tolerate foods containing sucrose and starch by the time they become adults, but others may experience intolerance of sucrose and starch their entire lives.

This age difference in the severity or frequency of GI symptoms is believed to be related to the shorter length of the small intestine in children, abbreviating the time permitted for intestinal digestion in infants or young children. The small intestine, where foods are normally absorbed, is actually the longest section of the GI tract. The average length of the small intestine in adults is about 22 feet. In addition, the diet of younger individuals often includes a higher carbohydrate intake than that of adults.

Sometimes abdominal pain related to excess gas can be relieved by applying a little heat to the area by using a hot water bottle or a heating pad. The heat helps relax the muscles in the large intestine, causing them to release the trapped gas. Heat can also reduce the sensation of pain. However, it is very important to closely monitor the impact of the heat, especially if it is being used to relieve excess gas or colic in a young child or toddler.

Sucrose Intolerance Is More Common Than You Think