Digestive System Diagram
Stomach aches are a common part of childhood. Although stomach pain is often just the result of innocuous gas, certain types of stomach pain require further investigation. Lower right stomach pain is one of the main symptoms of appendicitis. However, even if your child has lower left stomach pain, he warrants a medical eye if the pain progresses. Food intolerance and other conditions may result in lower left stomach pain. To ensure your child's health and safety, tell your paediatrician about localised stomach pain.
Although appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix) usually results in lower right side stomach pain, occasionally, the pain appears on the lower left side. While most people have appendixes on their right sides, in rare cases, a person's organs are flipped. Known as situs inversus, people with his condition have organs on the left side of their bodies that most people have on the right side and vice versa. Children with situs inversus will have their appendixes on the left side of their bodies. Thus, if your child suffers from situs inversus and has intense pain on her lower left side, bring her to a doctor for evaluation.
In other rare cases, children may have their appendixes on the left side regardless of whether they have situs inversus. Therefore, visit a doctor for any excruciating pain on the lower left side that does not improve.
Gas Pain and Intolerance
Most likely, your child's lower left stomach pain is due to gas in the intestines. While gas may result from improper chewing, fatty foods and known gas-producing foods like beans, some children may have an intolerance that produces gas. An intolerance occurs when a child's body is unable to break down certain ingested foods. Many children are intolerant to lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. If your child's lower left stomach pain occurs after he ingests milk or cheese and that pain is accompanied with bloating, talk to your doctor about lactose intolerance. To avoid the unpleasant symptoms of lactose intolerance, your child will have to cut out dairy completely or take Lactaid pills before he ingests dairy products. In addition to lactose, other common intolerances that may lead to lower left stomach/abdominal pain include gluten and yeast. If you notice a link between certain foods and the presence of stomach pain, take your child to the paediatrician for further evaluation.
Serious Stomach Conditions and Digestive Disorders
If your child's lower left stomach/abdominal pain coincides with other serious symptoms such as bowel disturbances, blood in the stool or fever, she may suffer from a more severe condition than simple gas pains. Stomach viruses and parasites often produce any of the above symptoms. To diagnose a stomach virus or parasitical disorder, your doctor will test your child's stool.
If tests come back negative, it is possible that your child suffers from a more serious digestive disorder such as inflammatory bowel disease (e.g. Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis) or a urinary tract infection. Infections of the kidneys, bladder or other parts of the urinary tract may produce abdominal pain localised in the lower left region. Treatment for infection will require administration of antibiotics. Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic conditions that require serious medical intervention. To diagnose Crohn's disease and/or colitis, a doctor may need to perform a colonoscopy to test small tissue samples of your child's intestines. If a doctor makes a positive diagnosis for IBD, your child has a range of treatment options that include medicines to reduce inflammation and other therapy to keep the disease in remission.