Children suffering from colic – severe abdominal pain – are a common sight. So much so that you can see parents crowded around in hospital emergency rooms with wailing children suffering from symptoms of colic any time of the year.
Doctors link this abdominal pain to intussusception, one of the most common abdominal emergencies affecting children under the age of two. This condition causes a part of the intestine to fold into another much like a collapsible telescope, causing a blockage in the intestine. This condition may even require surgery.
But now a UAE-based physician has discovered that at least some of the children could be suffering from something other than colic. After observing children with similar symptoms over a period of five years, Prof. Dr. Amin El-Gohary, paediatric surgery consultant at Burjeel Abu Dhabi Hospital, discovered a new phenomenon, now called Gohary’s disease, that is consistent with severe colic mimicking signs of intussusception.
‘Children suffering from this condition undergo sudden acute severe abdominal colic during which the child is continuously screaming for couple of minutes, with the pain ending suddenly,’ says Dr. Gohary, who published his findings in the prestigious British Medical Journal. ‘This pain is recurrent and does not respond to analgesics or pain killers. When doctors perform an ultrasound on these children, it would reveal an image identical to intussusception. Other laboratory and radiological tests would also misleadingly confirm the wrong diagnosis of intussusception which would lead to unnecessary surgery.’
However, Dr Gohary found that the real cause for such severe pain is linked to fecal matter blocking terminal small bowel and the beginning of the large intestine.
Based on his findings, Prof. Dr. Gohary advises that in the instance of Gohary’s disease children should be treated with fleet enemas. Fleet enemas are laxatives that will help dislodge the stool that is causing the obstruction.
Prof. Dr Gohary’s findings are extremely important as they avoid unnecessary investigations and/or surgical intervention in young patients due to misdiagnosis. ‘Children undergoing such excruciating pain need to get the right diagnosis so as to receive the appropriate treatment to treat both the pain and the underlying cause,’ he says