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October 26, 2003

Aches and Pains

Question from Silverdale, Washington, USA:

My nine year old stepson has had diabetes since the age of four, and every few months, he has a stomachache that lasts two to five days. Is this normal for a child with diabetes? I try to be apart of his appointments as much as possible since I care for him over half the month. It is very helpless feeling when he is not feeling well due to this stomachache. He does have sinus problems now and then and didn't know if drainage is causing it. His mom mentioned something about a digestive problem and made it sound as if it is related to diabetes. His mom does not keep on top of things although we (the three parents) get along well, and his dad and I are the ones who make sure things get taken care of. Any suggestions or research I could do to find out more about what causes these stomachaches? He will be going to a specialist soon.

Answer:

A child with diabetes is a child first and a child who has diabetes somewhere thereafter. Is it normal for a child to have a stomachache lasting two-five days every few months? Of course not!

Can someone with type 1 diabetes have associated conditions that can lead to stomachaches? Yes. I think you should certainly seek the consul of your son’s diabetes team and specialists. Common considerations would be ketones (with or without high glucose readings), constipation, celiac disease, gastritis/ulcer disease, or perhaps even adrenal insufficiency. I think your child is too young to have diabetic gastroparesis.

DS