Abdominal pain management in children assignment help

 

Stomach pain is one of the common reasons why parents take their children to the hospital. Most of the children complain of stomach pain. Stomach pain can hard be difficult to diagnose. The doctor asks the parent a number of questions and then examines the child. Sometimes the cause of the pain is so obvious hence no tests are required.

Abdominal pain management in children assignment help

Abdominal pain management in children assignment help

Most of children with stomach pain get well in hours or within days without special treatment. The cause of pain can be too much and the treatment can begin at home. If the symptoms persist, the parents can take the children to the hospital for further treatment.

Types of abdominal pain

There are 4 major types of abdominal pain which include upper, lower, right-sided, and left-sided. Each type of pain has its specific causes and symptoms and are as below:

  • Upper abdominal pain – the causes of upper abdominal pain are the by-products of the digestive process. The pains are usually in the upper part of the stomach as well as the chest, neck, and shoulders. Symptoms include bloating and gas, acid reflux, loss of appetite, and nausea.
  • Lower abdominal pain- the common causes of lower abdominal pain are normally the menstrual cycle, urinary tract infection, and constipation. The symptoms include cramping, backache, diarrhea, bloating, etc.
  • Right-sided abdominal pain- the common causes of this pain are the gallstones and appendicitis. The pain associated with gallstones originates in the upper right of the abdomen and spreads to the right shoulder blade. The pain associated with appendicitis begins in the lower right and is not always there. When the pain moves lower, it becomes constant and more severe.
  • The common causes of left-sided pain are kidney stones, kidney infection, and diverticulitis. The symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, feeling sick, pain in the left and right abdomen area, the back and genitals, etc.

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The best treatment for abdominal pain

 

Parents or caregivers need to be observant and should contact the healthcare provider at the right time. They need to monitor a child closely during recovery until the child is better. The following are ways parents can help the child with stomach pain:

  • Have the child rest- resting is beneficial to a child with stomach pain. Lying face down may help relieve gas pain, although the optimal position is the one that feels best to your child.
  • Diet- a child with abdominal pain needs to keep up on liquids. Dehydration is a condition that takes time to develop, so putting the child strictly on liquids is not always necessary.
  • Fluids to give- it is not advisable to give boiled water or milk to infants as it causes serious problems with the salt content in their stomachs. Milk is also harder for a sick stomach to digest. The doctor may recommend dehydration liquids like Pedialyte which can be bought over the counter without a prescription.

It is important to try and get the infant back to the usual feeding. Good choices for older children include ginger ale or soup broth. Avoid milk, fruit juices or carbonated drinks, coffee, or sports drinks.

  • Solid foods- as the child improves, they will let you know when it is time to get back to solid foods. Introduce solid foods slowly by trying toast or crackers as you advance to regular foods. Give them a banana, apple sauce, cooked rice, or plain toast which are good foods, especially after full fluids diet.
  • Medications- you can give them acetaminophen which is aspirin-free, and Panadol or Tylenol to control fever. It is good to avoid aspirin and also antibiotics unless prescribed by a doctor. Do not give your child herbal medicines or other home remedies. In case you use them and later see a physician; it is good to let them know.
  • When to see a doctor- it is good to see/call a doctor immediately if your child has any of the following: – persistent pain in the right side of the abdomen
  • – Severe or rapidly worsening abdominal pain that does not go away within 24hrs

– Pain that is confined in one part of the abdomen

– Tenderness or pain when you press the tummy

-Swollen abdomen

–  Presence of blood in the stool

– Unexplained fever

– Lots of vomiting and diarrhea

– Bleeding that is coming from the rectum

– If there is a recent abdominal injury

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Causes of abdominal pain in children

 

The following are the main causes of abdominal pain in children:

  • Infections- bacteria or viruses can cause abdominal pain in children. They can be from stomach flu or gut flu called gastroenteritis. Such pain is associated with other gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, cramps, and diarrhea. They can be treated using antibiotics.
  • Causes that are food-related – eating excess food, food allergies, or food poisoning can cause temporary abdominal pain.

Poisoning can range from simple problems like eating soap, swallowing iron pills, an overdose of medicine, etc.

  • Surgical problems and medical causes- surgical problems include appendicitis and blockage of the bowels. Things outside the abdomen too can cause abdominal pain for example complications from diabetes or from a black spider bite.
  • Constipation- a child is constipated if they have less than 2 bowel movements (poo) per week. Constipation in children has no physical cause and occurs because they have had a painful or an unpleasant bowel movement.
  • Trapped wind- it is also called intestinal gas and is a normal by-product of digestion. It is very common in newborns as they swallow air when they are feeding or crying. Babies get rid of wind by burping or passing wind through farting.
  • Rotavirus- it is a common cause of severe gastroenteritis in children. It is normally prevented through vaccination and is available as part of the national immunization program.
  • Food poisoning- it is caused by germs that grow in food that has been prepared or stored. The symptoms are similar to those of gastroenteritis.
  • Irritable bowel movement- it causes abdominal pain which may be related to one or more of the following: how often the child poos or a change in the appearance of poo. Some children may have diarrhea or constipation while others have alternating diarrhea and constipation.
  • Lactose intolerance- it is a reduced ability to digest lactose which is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. It results in bloating, wind and diarrhea after consuming foods or drinks containing lactose. It may be temporary in children or permanent.
  • Colic- it is excessive crying and distress in babies which is common, especially at very young ages. Babies with colic cry loudly and can’t be consoled and may have wind.
  • Urinary tract infections- it is common in children. It is one of the symptoms in older children along with pain when urinating or u urinating more than normal and sometimes fever.
  • Appendicitis- it is usually an emergency. It causes pain around the navel or the button belly area which then moves to the lower right side of the abdomen and then becomes sharper. the child may complain of increasing tummy pain.
  • Intussusception- occurs when a part of the bowel slides into an adjoining part of the bowel, like a telescope. It is a serious condition, often causing a blockage preventing the normal flow of fluids.
  • Incarcerated hernia- it happens when an organ or body tissue bulges through an abnormal weak spot into another place. It happens to the stomach if they bulge through the abdominal wall. Some babies have a weakness in the abdominal wall when they are born.
  • Testicular torsion- is when a testicle rotates and twists the spermatic cord reducing blood flow to the testicle. It is a medical emergency that needs surgery to save the testicle and is more common in younger boys. It causes pain and swelling in the testicle and one testicle sitting higher.
  • Ingestion of a foreign body- young children often swallow things. most foreign bodies that reach the gastrointestinal tract can pass out of the body without any help. Button batteries and magnets can cause serious and life-threatening complications. Symptoms of having ingested a battery or magnetic substances the child should be taken to the nearest hospital.

Symptoms of abdominal pain in children

Parents and caregivers should be in a position to tell when a child is having abdominal pain. They may have painful facial expressions or curl up. Children who are able to talk can tell you what is wrong with them. The symptoms include:

  • Duration of the pain- most simple causes of pain do not last for long. Abdominal pain that continues for longer than 24 hrs should be assessed by the physician.
  • Where the pain is located- most simple pains are usually located at the center of the abdomen and the child rubs his arms around the belly button. Pain felt in other areas is more concerning especially if it is located in the lower abdomen.
  • The appearance of the child- if the child looks very ill in addition to being in pain, you should seek medical help immediately. In case of sweating or if the child appears pale then it is time to rush to the hospital
  • There can be vomiting- with abdominal pain, children can vomit easily. The duration of the pain associated with simple causes often goes away very quickly. Vomiting that lasts longer than 24hrs is a legitimate reason to visit the physician.
  • Nature of the vomiting- vomiting that appears to contain blood or darker material is a reason to seek emergency care. The inability to keep down liquids and prolonged vomiting can lead to dehydration.
  • Diarrhea- it indicates that a virus is the common cause of stomach pain. It can continue for several days usually lasting for 72 hours and is also associated with vomiting.
  • Fever- a fever does not always indicate a serious problem. There are other more serious problems that can be seen with a normal body temperature.
  • Groin pain- a child may be embarrassed to mention the area where the pain is especially boys who have a testicular condition. If a child complains of pain in the groin area you need to seek emergency help.
  • Urinary problems- it is usually any trouble urinating. Painful or frequent urination could indicate a bladder infection and is a good reason to seek medical help.
  • Rashes- serious causes of abdominal pain occur with a new rash. You need to visit your doctor if abdominal combines with a rash.
  • If the pain is on the lower right side- this can be a sign of appendicitis and should be treated as a doctor’s case.it can also be a sign of young girls ovulating or having menstrual cramps.

 

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How nurses pinpoint the source of stomach pain in children

 

The following are the tips for managing patients with abdominal pain:

  • Perform serial assessments- nurses need to perform a series of abdominal inspections and palpation is invaluable to detect changes in the abdomen itself. They also evaluate pain using a pain scale.
  • Getting a rectal temperature- it is important for patients presenting with abdominal pains to go through a rectal temperature check.
  • They also check respiratory rate and blood pressure checks- respiratory checks are important to check at triage as pneumonia also causes abdominal pain and so it is important to check if the patient is in respiratory distress. Blood pressure is also important to check the presence of shock. If a patient presents with low blood pressure and abdominal pain, they may have an intra-abdominal catastrophe such as a rupture of the spleen.
  • Considering orthostatic- it applies in patients in suspicion of volume depletion or inta-abdominal bleeding.
  • Expediting urinalysis- the nurse may order a urinalysis test to for girls with lower abdominal pain. They can also be placed on a GYN table and be prepared for a pelvic exam.
  • Ensuring fast test results- especially for children with right-sided abdominal pain who are guarding and present with fever, nausea, and vomiting. Asking children with abdominal pain to hop- if the pain causes them too much pain to do so, it is a sign of peritoneal irritation and often appendicitis.
  • Ruling out abdominal aortic aneurysm- it can be ruled out in the first several minutes of an ed visit with ultrasound by finding an aorta of normal size. Ultrasound can be used to detect the presence of renal colic.
  • Considering the sequence of exams- it is important to remember that the sequence exam is different in that system than for all others. Normally after inspection auscultation is done in the abdomen before hands are placed on it for the rest of the exam.

Signs of a serious stomach ache

 

The signs of serious abdominal pain include:

  • Severe pain- if the child cannot be distracted from it then the pain is severe.
  • The presence of blood in the stool- bad stomach ache with blood can be a sign of a serious infection or inflammatory bowel disease or other intestinal problems.
  • If the child is vomiting blood- children who nosebleed or vomit blood a lot together with stomach pain should not be ignored.
  • Presence of green in the vomit- this can indicate a sign of a blockage in the intestine. Stomach pain together with the green vomit should not be ignored.
  • If the child looks pale or has hives- can be an indication of anaphylaxis which is the most serious kind of allergic reaction causing stomach pain with vomiting. It is in most cases an emergency.
  • If the pain is on the lower right side- this can be a sign of appendicitis and should be treated as a doctor’s case.it can also be a sign of young girls ovulating or having menstrual cramps.
  • If the child has a fever or bad cough- a stomach ache along with a fever can be a sign of pneumonia and should therefore not be ignored.
  • If the child is very sleepy- being sleepy along with stomach pain can be a sign of a serious infection.
  • Experiencing pain during urination- it can be a sign of a urinary tract infection and should not be ignored.

Conclusion

Stomach pain in children can be caused by many different things. The most common causes of the pain include constipation, trapped wind, urinary tract infections, gastroenteritis, appendicitis, and so forth. Most cases of abdominal pain in children resolve on their own without treatment while others are treated as emergency cases. In cases where the pain is severe such that a child cannot be distracted from it, the caregiver of the parent should consider seeking medical help immediately to determine the cause and get treatment.

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