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HomeTestimonials Decision MakingThe Pain Of Uncertainty – A Young Boy’s Struggle To Be Free

The Pain Of Uncertainty – A Young Boy’s Struggle To Be Free

After years of suffering from crippling abdominal pain, numerous tests having been determined to be normal and almost all possibilities of getting a correct diagnosis exhausted, R's parents were told to take him to a psychologist. Was R's condition all in his head or was there a deeper cause for his pain?

As a young boy of 11 years, R had always been an active and happy child. Described as popular and well-adjusted, R had achieved all childhood milestones with excellence. Being from a family of four children, love, laughter and fun had always been in abundance for him. Rarely moody, R was considered a well-rounded young boy. This was until things took an unexpected turn for the worse as pain threatened to tear his young world apart.

 

R's pain began three years earlier, with no apparent trigger or obvious cause. The pain was sporadic, however one consistent factor was that the pain always stemmed from his belly-button area. Every month or two R would be immobilized by pain. His agony usually lasting between 3-7 days, led him to miss a total of 40 days of school during the school year. Not only was his health in jeopardy but his education too as his condition spiraled out of control.

 

When taken to the GP, nothing unusual was found on examination. Batteries of blood tests were conducted over the years, all returning normal. Of the scans performed, no stones were evident, but suspicion arouse with regards to mesenteric adenitis, a common cause of tummy pain in children under 16 years old, characterized by inflamed abdominal lymph glands. Eventually, a diagnosis of mesenteric abdominal migraine was reached. This is a sub-type of migraine seen mainly in children. R was prescribed Buscopan, paracetamol, ibuprofen and antacids for his pain, none of which gave him relief. With the continued pain, his daily functioning began to gradually deteriorate causing him to become withdrawn and introverted. His appetite varied, but his pain was not associated with any particular food group. Allergy tests conducted found no abnormalities. On all accounts, he was considered in good health.

 

In late January 2018, R was admitted into the hospital due to an acute exacerbation of his abdominal pain. This episode was also accompanied by lower back pain. Doctors started him on antibiotics for a presumed urinary tract infection, which later was retracted. According to his consultant pediatrician, his physical examination was normal, but he was noted to be in a quiet and low mood. The family was assured that all was physically well and R was referred to Child Mental Health Services and a pain clinic.

 

In an effort to find out the cause of their son’s pain and anguish, R's parents contacted Medix. R was assigned a Personal Medical Case Management team and with his parents' consent, his test results were sent for specialist review in order to make a comprehensive diagnosis.

 

R's allergy tests for egg white, milk, mixed seafood and wheat protein were all negative. He also tested negative for Celiac Disease, an auto-immune disease whereby the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten, resulting in abdominal pain, difficulty in digesting food as well as absorbing vital nutrients. Findings from further tests conducted on his abdomen, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, gallbladder and bladder showed no significant irregularities. His glucose levels and full blood count were also found to be standard.

 

Medix obtained a remote pediatric gastroenterology consultation. The specialist reviewed R's file extensively and advised that there was no need for a further work-up as R had been through an extensive number of tests up to that point. In a case such as this, a gastroscopy could have been undertaken to rule out the suspicion that a diagnosis might have been missed. However, the possibility that anything relevant would have been uncovered was rather low. It was noted that while Celiac Disease had been ruled out, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity complex or lactose intolerance may be the cause of R’s pain. Medix advised R see a nutritionist in an attempt to determine any diet-related gastrointestinal causes.

 

On advisement of the nutritionist, R was put onto a gluten and dairy free diet with appropriate calcium provision and a balanced intake of nutrients. He has since been mostly pain-free with no further interventions being necessary. This outcome raises the possibility that R suffers from a Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity complex or lactose intolerance and can continue to avoid any flare-ups by following the recommended dietary plan.

 

After years of uncertainty and agony R is finally able to live a normal life. His health and education are no longer at risk and his parents' concerns have been put rest.

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