Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
Amid reports that a growing number of kids are showing up at emergency rooms with gastritis, an irritation of the stomach lining, health officials are warning parents that super spicy foods including chips and crackers may not be safe for kids. More from ABC News:
Dr. Martha Rivera, a pediatrician at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, said she sees between five and six cases of children with gastritis daily.
“We have a population who loves to eat the hot spicy, not real foods, and they come in with these real complaints,” Rivera told KABC-TV.
Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said he believes that the flavoring coating the chips and snacks is what might be causing the stomach pH to change, rather than just the spiciness of the snacks. For example, he said he hasn’t had a lot of people coming in doubled over from eating too much spicy salsa.
“In the past, I had not seen any problems with snack food until spicy flavoring became more popular,” said Glatter.
Glatter said it wasn’t just the high fat or high salt content that the kids or adolescents crave but the actual burn of the spicy flavoring.
“It’s almost like a food addiction. They seek out the burn,” said Glatter. “It’s a little thrill-seeking. ‘It’s like how much can I tolerate?’ and I’ve seen a number of children who eat four or five bags and come in screaming in pain.”
Image: Spicy snacks, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, August 13th, 2013
Chronic stomach pain suffered by children but without medical explanation may be an indication of an anxiety disorder, according to new research published in the journal Pedaitrics. More from Reuters:
By the time kids with stomach pain reached age 20, just over half had had symptoms of an anxiety disorder at some point, most often social anxiety, researchers found.
Anxiety tended to start in early childhood, around the same time as the chronic stomach problems.
Past studies suggest between eight and 25 percent of all youth have chronic stomach pain, researchers noted. When there’s no clear medical cause for the pain – such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease – it’s known as functional abdominal pain.
“It’s very prevalent, and it’s one of the most common reasons that children and adolescents end up in their pediatrician’s office. It’s one of the most common reasons kids are missing school,” said Dr. Eva Szigethy, head of the Medical Coping Clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center.
One small study of children with that type of pain found they were at a higher than average risk of anxiety disorders as young adults.
To build on those findings, Lynn Walker from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, and her colleagues followed 332 children who visited a doctor for unexplained stomach pain between age eight and 17.
For comparison, they also tracked 147 youth from the same area schools without stomach problems.
When participants were 20 years old, on average, the researchers interviewed them in person or over the phone about symptoms of anxiety and depression. At that point, four in 10 of those with a history of stomach pain still had a gastrointestinal disorder.
Based on the interviews, Walker’s team found 51 percent of people with stomach pain as children had ever had an anxiety disorder and 30 percent currently met the criteria for a diagnosis.
In comparison, 20 percent of people in the no-stomach pain group had ever had an anxiety disorder and 12 percent currently had one.
“What was striking was the extent to which anxiety disorders were still present at follow-up,” Walker told Reuters Health.
Image: Boy having stomach pain, via Shutterstock
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