Your child woke up in the middle of the night complaining of a vomiting sensation and stomach pain. this is followed up by a stream of tears and vomiting, and then comes the fever and inability to retain the fluids. usually, these symptoms add up to a stomach bug that normally vanishes within less than 24 hours. But, if the symptoms persist for more than 24 hours, you child could be suffering from acute pancreatitis, the inflammation of the pancreas.
Acute pancreatitis rarely happens in children, but if you feel that your child is restless with the relentless existence of vomiting and fever, then visit your doctor. Read on to know more about this painful health condition and how you can handle it.
What Exactly Is Acute Pancreatitis?
Acute pancreatitis or Acute pancreatic necrosis is a medical condition characterized by a sudden inflammation of the pancreas. Children are very rarely susceptible to this condition, but when it affects it could prove to be life-threatening.
Acute pancreatitis is caused by excessive consumption of alcohol or gallstones. However, studies suggest that various infections, trauma, assorted medications, surgeries, and metabolic disorders could also trigger the inflammatory condition. Even worse, there exists more than 30% of incidents where doctors have failed to diagnose the underlying cause of the condition.
A child is susceptible to the risk of this health issue if he or she has one or more of the following underlying conditions:
- Abdominal injury
- High levels of calcium in the blood
- Juvenile pancreatic cancer
- Juvenile obesity
- Exposure to cigarette smoking
- Family history of pancreatitis
It could also arise from blunt abdominal injuries that arise from a vehicle collision, accidents, or as an autoimmune condition.
Symptoms of Acute Pancreatitis In Children
Acute pancreatitis often begins as a mild, intermittent pain in the upper abdomen that lasts for days together. The pain slowly increases in intensity and frequency, spreading to the back and other parts of the body. The pain usually intensifies with food or liquid intake. Forward bending or stretching could also aggravate the pain.
Some of the most commonly reported signs and symptoms of acute pancreatitis in children are:
- Nausea, followed by vomiting
- Increased pulse rate
- Abdominal pain
- Inflammation and tenderness in the abdomen
- Fluctuation in the levels of blood pressure
Severe vomiting due to acute pancreatitis leads to dehydration. Lack of proper care at the right time could even trigger organ failure. If a child has a family history of pancreatitis, then it is advisable to rush to the doctor to save his or her life.
Can You Treat Acute Pancreatitis In Children?
There are no established treatments for curing acute pancreatitis in children. Supportive medications are quite often prescribed to ease the pain and vomiting involved. Adequate hydration is essential to ensure that the child does not get dehydrated worsening the condition. If the child is not able to intake fluids due to excessive nausea and vomiting, doctors might advise intravenous fluid therapy to ensure recovery. Along with water, you can always coax your child to drink freshly squeezed, unsweetened fruit juices to ease inflammation.
While most of the children recover quickly with zero scope for recurrence, studies do reveal that 10% of the children experience recurring bouts of this condition. And, this happens mostly when the children are exposed to smoking or have a family history. It is essential to identify the cause of the peril to ensure that it does not strike again.
Convince your kid to eat a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. If your child is obese, then you could even coax him or her to get into some exercise form so as to lower the risk of recurrence of acute pancreatitis. It is also advisable to refrain from putting your child on over-the-counter medications, as many research reveal the use of such medications triggering this condition.
Prevention is better than cure always! So ensure that your child recovers and exert a little more caution to shield your child from acute pancreatitis!