Posted 5/15/2018 12:35 PM (GMT -6)
Superior mesentary artery syndrome comes to mind as one possibility. Intermittent occlusion of the artery (often compressed by overlying organs or connective tissue) is a condition that would be worth reading about and becoming familiar with. Increasingly, patients have come to their physicians with diagnositic considerations.
I had diffuse and moderate/severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, and overall digestive distress that first appeared in my early teens (15-16 years of age). It was debilitating and resulted in several hospitalizations over the years. I had a litany of diagnoses, that later all proved to be inaccurate (irritable bowel syndrome; food allergies/sensitivities; premature ovary failure; sensory hypersensitivity). The underlying cause was later determined to be pituitary failure.
Your son is at an age where the pituitary gland is under immense physiological demands of puberty and emerging adulthood. The endocrine system is responsible for regulating a large swath of hormones that regulate the body’s different organs and systems. The endocrine system is the “software” that gives instruction to the organs in how they function. The digestive system relies on hormones to coordinate the digestion of food and movement of food through the intestines. There are hormone receptors embedded in the intestinal tract that act on the direction of hormones. Hormones are basically chemical messengers. The endocrine system has an essential role in how the body works and functions that is rarely appreciated by most people.
Imaging scans and endocscopies are limited to evaluating physical and anatomical aspects. These imaging tools are limited, at best. But physicians are increasingly reliant on scans and endoscopies as they are easy to order and require little critical thinking. That your son has not shown an identified condition in the scans and scopes to date means only that there is no obvious/easy to see physical or anatomical dysfunction. It is time to up the ante and ask more of the medical team overseeing your son’s care. Looking at physiological causes for your son’s distress is one area of expanded diagnositic inquiry that you should advocate for. A full evaluation by an endocrinologist and/or integrative medicine physician would be of value.
In my case, as is true of most people with endocrine disorders, the body will compensate as long as it can asbest as it can. Lab values can ebb and flow, wax and wane, as the endocrine system and hormones are dynamic and ever-changing. A “normal” finding on one lab study may be “abnormal” days later. It often takes multiple lab studies over time to pin point endocrine issues, monitoring for trends up or down, rather than any one laboratory value at a specific point in time.
As someone with multiple, complex health issues I can tell you that it takes perseverance and personal resolve to navigate the system of medical care to arrive at accurate diagnosis’s and plans for treatment and care. Conditions that are not easy for physicians to identify can often be tossed back to the patient as “all in you head.” For years, I was dismissed by physicians and my symptoms minimized. Be supportive of your son in the face of physician neglect.
A referral to an endocrinologist or integrative medicine physician may open up new perspectives as to your son’s digestive distress. Superior mesenteric artery syndrome would also be worth considering. You have my respect for your obvious love and concern for your son. Support of family is a vital thread when a person is ailing and physicians are at a loss and scratching their heads. My firm belief that each person holds the key to their diagnosis, the personal narrative and symptom profile are key in uncovering an accurate diagnosis. Continue to encourage your son to express his symptoms and body experience.