Paediatrician Dr Su Laurenttalks about the relation between tummy aches and bowel disease.
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Emma Howard: Hello, I am Emma Howard and I am joined by Dr Su Laurent, who is a Consultant Paediatrician at Barnet Hospital in Hertfordshire, Hello Su. Su Laurent: Hello Emma. Emma Howard: I have a question here from somebody with an eight year-old son who keeps getting tummy aches. There is a history of bowel disease in the family and I am worried he may have something serious. Do u think this is something that should get checked up? Su Laurent: Yes I think so. I think tummy aches are very common in children. And it’s fast to say that the majority of children who have tummy aches, we won’t find a medical course for them, and they are often related to a number of different things, about stress, anxiety, all sorts of things. But it’s important to get your child checked out, if you decided that’s the case. And the sorts of worrying signs in a child would be weight loss together with their tummy aches or looking rather pale or having poops, which are either very loose or contain blood or mucus. And those children right away -- we can tell them that, there is an underlying problem. Emma Howard: Rings alarm bells. Su Laurent: That rings alarm bells but they are the minority, the majority of children actually are very fit and well, they’ve got a good appetite and the tummy ache is interfering with their lives but not to the point where it’s making them unwell. Emma Howard: And this particular question of course, there is a connection with the family and bowel disease. Su Laurent: Yes. Emma Howard: Family history when it comes to medical history is very important. Su Laurent: Yes, it’s very important. It’s important for two reasons, one is, because there may be a connection between this child in terms of illness, but it also is important to know what the fears of the parents are because sometimes parents are worried about something, which is needless. This is obviously -- no problem is gong to affect a child of this age, bowel concern being a common one. So sometimes parents come and saying, you know, the grandmother died of bowel concern, my child has got tummy aches, and that’s what they are really worried about. You can immediately reassure them, that’s not going to be the problem. Having said that, if a child has something like – a parent has Crohn's disease or inflammatory bowel disease, yes, really children can have Crohn’s disease. And that is a real – that can be a real worry for parents. It’s important to try and eliminate that. Emma Howard: So it’s always great if the parent comes and really speaks their mind, don’t feel foolish about your fears. Su Laurent: Exactly. Just tell the doctor what you’re worrying about and then we’ll be able to reassure you hopefully or do the right tests. Emma Howard: Great Su, thank you very much. And if you have a similar problem, we hope we might have given you some help. But remember, it’s always best to go and see your own doctor for medical advice. Thanks for watching, we’ll be back with more health questions and answers.