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5 year child having stomach ache after eating spicy food and lack of appetite. What is the cause and cure?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1528 Questions
My 5 yr old daughter complains of stomach pain after eating something spicy and discomfort after eating something fatty. What could be the cause and simple remedy if any. Lack of appetite. She can go without solid food for almost the whole day.
She is only 15 kilos. Tried pediasure but again complains of discomfort after drinking the same.
Posted Wed, 29 Aug 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 21 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Her symptoms could indicate an underlying problem like food allergy or intolerance , a parasitic infection or a gastrointestinal disorder ( like reflux , malabsorption etc).
Remedies can only be suggested after a confirmed diagnosis .
As you have mentioned that her ultrasound is showing some enlarged lymph nodes , I would like to know if she has been thoroughly evaluated by her pediatrician to rule out a worm or parasitic infection, tuberculosis of the gut, any liver disorder. If yes then I would like know if she has undergone basic blood tests like CBC , ESR , liver profile and mantoux test. Without these starting s child on any medications or supplements like liv 52 doesn't seem reasonable .
Yes her symptoms suggest an indigestibility or intolerance to fats and spicy food which is usually seen in hepatobiliary disorders( liver) but it is best to get the liver profile ( function) test done before starting therapy.
Once a confirmed diagnosis is known then appropriate dietary changes can be advised along with medical treatment .
Regarding her weight , yes the ideal weight for her age should be around 17 kgs but a lot of it depends on her built and her genetic factors( parents built).if she has been steadily growing since birth and recently stopped gaining weight or lost weight then it is definitely a matter of concern.
If she has been gaining weight steadily throughout but less than average then it is more likely due to faulty diet.
If milk based products or pediasure also is not tolerable to her and all her tests are normal then there is a possibility of a malabsorption ( lactose intolerance )or food allergy.

As of now I require the above mentioned details to be able to narrow done the possibilities and guide you to a simple remedy for the same.
Kindly get back to me .
Awaiting your response,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: 5 year child having stomach ache after eating spicy food and lack of appetite. What is the cause and cure? 21 hours later

Thank you for your detailed reply.

Firstly, We have not done any blood tests as you have suggested. In fact the only test that has been done so far is the scan. I am attaching the scanned copy of the scan here. Will do the needful to get the test done at the earliest.

There are other things that I thought you may need to know. My daughter is generally very reserved and she has problem going to school. She is now in first grade but she still cries to go to school. I have been putting that to separation anxiety. She cannot stay in school without holding on to the teacher or the maid. She has been missing prayer assemblies because she had to hold on to one particular maid at school.

The constant pain in the stomach has been there since XXXXXXX which coincides with the beginning of her school. Full day school for the first time. She has had the pain intermittently before. The points of pain in the abdomen varies. It is just below the ribs in the centre or near the navel or on the sides in line with the navel and going back. Sometimes she does complains that the pain goes upto the throat. We put this to reflux / acidity due to her lack of intake. Sometimes she complains about this pain when there is a jerk in the car or she is jumping while playing but other times she does similar activities she is fine.

She still wets the bed in the night. In the mornings she is fine but generally has the tendency to hold on for a long time although she knows she has to go to the toilet.

We have contemplated that whether this is psychosomatic or the pain is real.

Can these kinds of prolonged pains and lack of appetite be due to stress? Would like your inputs on the above.

Thanks and Regards,
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 2 hours later
Thanks for the follow up.
Yes, the facts you have mentioned could suggest a probability of this being a psychosomatic pain which is very common in children and is never satisfactorily treated with medications.
Also the change in site and type of pain further reduces the possibility of some significant pathology like liver disorder . Still both conditions pathological illness and psychological stress can coexist and hence it becomes more important to confirm the diagnosis by carrying out baseline investigations .
I would also like to suggest you maintain a food diary wherein the diet consumed daily should be entered approximately and whenever the child complains of pain a note should be mentioned about it in the same diary . Thus any correlation of pain with any particular food component can be observed. Even if you feel the pain comes and goes randomly keeping a diary for atleast 2 weeks will give a fair idea of the child's food habbits and pain intervals.
So please do not lose hope wether stress or pathology your child's problem does have a solution ie counselling or medications and once more serious causes are ruled out you can look forward to the appropriate management soon.
Please do not worry about her behaviour it will definitely improve with time , all you need to have is patience and do provide unconditional loving care to her .
Also do not pay more attention than necessary when she complains of pain otherwise it might turn into a attention seeking behaviour . Do comfort her as usual as you might do for any of her other problems.
If in case the investigations are absolutely normal then the most appropriate step would be to consult a child guidance clinic or counsellor who can treat her with play therapy or behaviour therapy as per need.Most institutes or big hospitals do have such facility ( child psychologist) available or her pediatrician might refer you to one in your locality.

Hope I have answered your query.
Kindly accept my answer if you have no further queries.
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