The incident that I am about to narrate is about a boy who was then pursuing his class 12. He often used to complain of chest pain and abdomen pain to his parents. Due to his repeated complaints of chest and abdominal pain, his parents took him to a physician. The physician regarded that the boy was quite normal and dismissed the abdominal pain as plain gas trouble, gave some medicine and he was okay for some time. As days passed, the boy’s issue did not seem to resolve and his parents decided to consult a cardiologist to check with his chest pain complaints. The cardiologist examined him and ruled out that the chest pain was not related to any cardiac issues. With his constant on and off complaining of chest and abdomen pain, his parents, like any other parent thought that he was just faking the pain to bunk school. But the truth about his pain was yet to be revealed.
After almost a year of complaining of abdominal pain and chest pain, the boy and his parents finally came to consult me. The boy, along with his complaints of chest and abdominal pain, also had a history of constipation and tight stools upon me talking to him. As a preliminary measure to gauge how his body is reacting, I followed the standard treatment protocol for constipation and I prescribed him medications to relieve him from his constipation. I sent the boy home with the prescribed medications and asked him to see me for a review after a month. After a few months, the complaints had just vanished. Thinking that his pains were cured completely, they stopped the medications voluntarily and did not return for a follow-up.
But to their dismay, the boy complained once again and so they visited me once again. Noting that they have discontinued their medication, I prescribed them the same medication. But this time around, the constipation medicines that I prescribed earlier did not help in relieving his pain. He now complained of abdominal pain along with a bowel movement which he can feel and hear. I immediately suspected some underlying obstruction (blockage) and I asked his parents to get him a CT-scan. In my mind, the reason for a possible blockage like TB, cancer, etc was also playing out simultaneously. Anyways, I decided to wait for the CT scan to check first if there was a blockage.
His CT-scan revealed that he had bowel thickening in the distal ileum and cecum. This is the place where the small and large intestine meet. His condition was just the stage before a full-blown blockage of his bowels. The thickening of his bowel had also caused reflux. And true to my suspicion, the chest pain also was associated with the bowel obstruction. I said to his parents that the only option left was to surgically remove the thickened bowel region. It is true that some medical conditions take time to reveal and until then they keep showing only subtle symptoms which is indeed a diagnostic challenge.
During the surgery, the thickened portion of his bowel which was about 1.5ft was surgically removed and was sent for biopsy. Biopsy reports can tell the underlying cause of the thickening of the bowel. The biopsy reports showed that it was tuberculosis or TB. After the surgery, I prescribed the necessary medications for TB. As we all know TB medications need to be administered for over 6 months’ time in many cases to get rid of the TB infection completely. Now the boy has recovered fully and is carrying on with his daily life with a healthy body and mind. No more stomach pains and chest pains. So if your children are complaining of any chronic pain, please do not ignore them. Also, keep in mind that many times such complex conditions can take time to diagnose.