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Dr. John: Belly pain, shooting neck pain, juvenile Diabetes

11:50 AM, Jan 16, 2013   |    comments
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Question #1
Doctor John, I have been having severe right belly pain. So far all serious things have been ruled out, however I was told it could be a muscle cramp like Charlie horse in my belly, or scar tissue. They are recommending a surgery to try and find the cause. Any suggestions from you would help. - Becky

Answer
When it comes to belly pain, or pain in the abdominal region, it can be tough to pinpoint exactly where it comes from. That's because there are so many different organs and other structures in that area. Serious issues including appendicitis, bowel obstructions, diverticulitis and even trapped hernias need to be ruled out. This is usually done with a clinical exam, a CT scan or an ultrasound. Other issues, like kidney stones, diverticulosis, and an ovarian cyst also need to be looked into. But since all serious things have been ruled out than it might help to look for more rare issues. Some that occasionally cause pain that can be hard to detect include mesenteric adenitis and mesenteric ischemia. Mesenteric adenitis occurs when lymph nodes in the abdominal area become swollen and inflamed. It's usually detected by ultrasound or CT scan. Mesenteric ischemia occurs when blood vessels around the intestines develop blood clots that cut off blood circulation to that area. That results in pain that can be hard to pinpoint. An angiogram is usually used to detect this condition. If imaging tests aren't able to detect what is causing the pain an exploratory abdominal surgery might be done. This type of surgery allows the surgeon to directly visualize the abdomen, intestines and other structures, helping to better determine what is causing the pain.

Question #2
Dear Dr. John, I have had developed pain on my back and it itches and I get these sharp shooting pains like electrical shocks shooting across my back, I have had this for about a month, can you help? Thank you

Answer
Back pain can be very intense and debilitating. It can be caused by anything from muscle strains and tears to ligament or bone issues. Other things that can cause back pain include radiculopathies, or nerve pain that radiates from the spinal nerves towards one side of the body or another. Sometimes this type of pain can be caused by shingles, a rash that develops later in life because of exposure to chicken pox as a child. Shingles rashes can cause a type of pain that is often describes as "electric shocks" or "a burning" across the affected region. Sometimes this pain can be long lasting and severe enough to affect a person's lifestyle. There are different medications that can help treat that pain. Not eveyone works for every case so sometimes a period of trying one drug or another might be what is needed to help control this type of back pain.

Question #3
Hi Dr. Torres, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes when I was 9 years old. I've always wondered if it's possible to have a pancreas transplant as a cure? I'm not sure if it's possible but I've always been curious. Thank you for your time, C. Powers

Answer
The pancreas is an organ, located in the center of the abdomen just below the ribcage, which produces insulin. When the pancreas isn't producing enough insulin you develop type I diabetes. Insulin injections are used to successfully treat diabetes in many individuals. Although pancreas transplants can be done and have proven successful at treating some with type I diabetes, it's a surgery that is very complicated and comes with some serious side effects. It's oftentimes done along with a kidney transplant and according to the American Diabetes Association, ADA, when it's done this way ends up being more successful. But because of the potential side effects associated with this type of transplant, they also recommend that it only is used in severe cases of diabetes where normal insulin and sugar management is proving difficult.

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