Did you know that gallbladder pain in kids might be the cause of your child’s stomachache? It is not something that we immediately consider, but an occurrence of gallstones in children is possible. In this article, we are focusing on details related to pediatric gallbladder disease and everything parents should know about it.
What Are Gallbladder Symptoms in Kids?
We will focus on each of these signs below, but here is a quick overview first:
- Sharp and intense pain
- Unusual stools
- Dark Urine
1. Sharp and Intense Pain
As you can see from the list, the symptoms of gallstones in kids are similar to those in adults. It might be easy to overlook other signs, but you can’t ignore your child complaining about severe pain in their right upper part of the abdomen.
Furthermore, it might seem like shoulder blades or chest hurts your youngster. That is because referred pain is a normal occurrence for gallbladder problems in kids. Either way, if the pain is intense and sharp, and it seems to last for hours, make sure to visit the doctor immediately.
Diarrhea might be a sign of cholelithiasis in children, although it might be related to many other conditions. However, if diarrhea is followed with fever, it might a sign of inflammation. Apart from gallbladder inflammation called cholecystitis, the problem could expand to the pancreas and liver.
3. Unusual Stools
Do you notice a small lump in your child’s stool? That lump might be an indicator that your kid passed the stone. While that is good news, it doesn’t mean the problems won’t continue.
Another characteristic thing about the stools might be that they become paler than usual. If you notice anything unusual about the stool, make sure to contact your doctor right away.
The majority of gallbladder issues in children might cause vomiting. In most cases, gallstones move to the pancreatic duct and block it. Fluids have problems with accessing duodenum and look for alternative directions. It moves up the bile and pancreatic duct and leads to vomiting.
Nausea and vomiting usually go hand in hand. Gallbladder problems in children might cause digestive issues, and that is what leads to nausea.
While nausea itself might not be a symptom to worry about, try to asses if it has been a frequent occurrence lately. If you confirm that, and your child also exhibits other symptoms, it is time to contact a professional.
6. Dark Urine
Dark urine is another sign that gallstones are blocking the bile duct. You are probably aware that urine color should be white to yellow. The urine of those dealing with gallbladder problems will be considerably darker than usual.
Apart from stool and urine, another thing that might change the color due to gallbladder problems in kids is their skin. You will notice how it turned yellow, and that’s something professionals call jaundice.
Jaundice occurs when bile from the liver can’t get into the intestines due to the duct blockage. However, jaundice can also be a symptom of liver disease and other problems with this organ.
Can Kids Get Gallstones?
Although adults are the primary group under risk from gallbladder issues, children might also encounter these problems. According to reports, the number of kids recommended undergoing surgery to remove the gallbladder increased over recent years.
That is why it is important to act in time, and before the issue becomes so serious that it requires surgery. However, even gallbladder removal shouldn’t affect the kid’s quality of life. That means it can continue with normal activities and nutrition, although it might be wise to avoid meals that contain too many fats.
It is worth noting that bilirubin stones often attach to children. These occur when your bilirubin juice hardens in your kid’s abdomen. That leads to stone formation, and you might recognize it if your kid exhibits the symptoms mentioned above.
Bilirubin gallstones appear in kids with leukemia or acute liver disease. Children with hemolytic anemia, diabetes, obesity, and genetic risk factors are particularly susceptible to gallstone formation.
What Can You Do to Prevent Gallstones in Kids?
The recommended methods to minimize the odds of gallstone formation are the same in both children and adults. That comes down to two factors:
- A healthy diet
- Never skipping any meals
A healthy diet means sticking to all the basic eating rules. Since fat contributes to stone formation, you should avoid saturated and other unhealthy fats. That means no processed foods, or minimizing them as much as possible. Healthy fats from fatty fish, poultry, and lean meat are still welcome.
Additionally, it is important to consume plenty of fibers from fruits and vegetables. These support overall digestion, which can be crucial for minimizing gallstone formation.
You should ensure that your child doesn’t skip any meals. Skipping meals or fasting contribute to stone formation. That is why you should ensure that rarely happens. Even if your child is not hungry, find a way for them not to skip a meal.
If you suspect gallbladder pain in your child, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible.