Why does internal bleeding hurt so much

Abdominal trauma: be careful, internal injuries!

Diagnosis of blunt abdominal trauma

It is usually not possible to see from the outside whether the child has suffered serious injuries. The frequent first side effects are not particularly noticeable at first: abdominal pain or nausea. However, Schuster advises that every fall on the stomach should be clarified or at least that the child should be carefully observed. "Parents actually have a good feeling for how their child is doing," says Schuster, who works as chief physician at the Clinic for Pediatric Surgery at the Augsburg Clinic. If the abdomen swells, bruises, turns pale or is in pain, these could be signs of internal organ damage. Such symptoms usually appear quickly after the belly splash.

Further typical indications for a possible blunt abdominal trauma: if, for example, the handle of the bicycle handlebars is visible like a stain on the stomach or the car seat belt has left an imprint after braking sharply. First, the doctor asks the parents and the child, palpates the stomach, checks whether it has hardened. Doctors use ultrasound to examine whether there is free fluid in the abdomen or whether an organ damage can be seen. In almost 100 percent of the cases, injuries can be detected in this way. "And only then is the diagnosis blunt abdominal trauma," says Tobias Schuster.

Beware of injuries to the spleen!

That sounds dramatic at first. "In many cases, however, it is sufficient to observe the child for a few days," is the experience of the pediatric surgeon. Often bruises on the organs swell up again or minor internal bleeding stops by itself. But what if not? The most common injuries are the spleen. It has an important function, especially for children: they need it for the body's defenses. "That's why pediatric surgeons try to save the injured spleen," says Schuster.

It almost always works. The doctors then use ultrasound or computed tomography, among other things, to check whether the child's condition is improving. If not, doctors may use a catheter to obliterate blood vessels, or have surgery to repair or remove the spleen. Even if the liver or pancreas is injured, doctors can usually proceed conservatively.

It's a shame that you can't wrap children in cotton wool! Falls cannot be prevented. However, parents can at least make sure that the handlebars have a large diameter and that the handlebars and handles are well padded when using a bicycle. This distributes the pressure better if the child lands roughly on their stomach while downhill.