UAE: 'Growing pains' in 10-year-old turn out to be rare condition

Medics highlighted such pains may be confused with regular cramping or aching in a child's limbs


Nandini Sircar

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Wed 22 May 2024, 5:56 PM

Last updated: Wed 22 May 2024, 11:42 PM

Ten-year-old Sheikh Hasnain Faizan used to experience pain in the lower part of his body. Over time, the pain intensified, eventually forcing him to miss school and even giving up his favourite sport — football.

Dismissed as growing pain initially, it quickly turned out to be a rare condition in the male reproductive organ.

Recalling the trying times, his mother highlighted despite the growing discomfort in the leg and groin areas, he found it difficult to communicate his symptoms fully, which left them wondering what caused the pain.

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“He didn’t convey his symptoms fully, I assume a common challenge for boys his age who may feel reserved discussing intimate health concerns with their parents,” said Maryam Faizan, the mother of the patient.

Moreover, she explained as parents of a child who is in his pre-teens, they hadn’t been involved in assisting him with his personal hygiene routines, such as bathing or using the restroom.

She pointed out: “This lack of close observation meant that we missed crucial signs and changes in his body, including the condition of his genitals.”

Possibility of removing the testes

But, one day, when the pain became unbearable and the child became immobile, the parents had to rush him to a nearby medical facility.

“An ultrasound revealed that his testes had twisted, leading to a significant deterioration in his condition. We were informed that there was a possibility of having to remove the affected testes, sending us into a state of disbelief,” added the Pakistani expat.

Maryam emphasised, in hindsight, she recognised as a parent the importance of maintaining open communication with children regarding their bodies and health.

“We also now understand the necessity of actively observing and discussing any changes or discomfort our child may be experiencing, no matter how uncomfortable the topic may seem,” she added.

However, following a successful surgery at Thumbay University Hospital, the family has been working to support the child by offering emotional reassurance and being present to listen to his fears.

“Their expertise and prompt action in diagnosing and addressing our child's condition helped ease much of our worry. The surgery itself went smoothly and our son was required to rest for two days following the procedure before gradually resuming mobility. Despite the initial apprehension, he has been coping remarkably well with the recovery process.”

Maryam emphasised that the experience did have some major changes in his everyday life.

“His academic schedule was disturbed as he needed to take time off to concentrate on recovering from surgery. This implied that he would be excluded from schoolwork and class activities. He had to temporarily give up his favourite sport, football. His healthcare practitioner has advised him to focus on soft movements and low-impact activities,” she added.

Monitoring child’s genital development

Meanwhile, medics highlighted though such pain may be misunderstood as growing pains that are common in school-age children. But it is critical to identify and treat groin discomfort as soon as possible, especially if it is related to an undescended testicle (testicles not moved down into their proper place in the scrotum).

Dr Mufique Gajdhar, pediatric surgeon, Thumbay University Hospital, Ajman said: “Parents play a vital role in monitoring their child’s genital development and should promptly consult a pediatric surgeon if they notice any abnormalities. By addressing undescended testes between six to nine months of age, the risk of complications like torsion can be significantly reduced, safeguarding the child’s reproductive health and overall well-being. Vigilance and proactive medical care are essential in ensuring optimal outcomes for young boys affected by this congenital anomaly.”

He explained that usually detectable from birth, undescended testes refers to a condition in which one or both testes do not descend into the scrotum.

“To prevent problems, prompt surgical correction is advised, ideally at six months of age. However, neglecting this condition can lead to severe consequences, as observed in the case of the 10-year-old patient. Due to the untreated undescended testes, it remained above the scrotum and was not fixed, making it susceptible to complications such as torsion.”

Further explaining the medical condition, the doctor stressed torsion occurs when the testes twists upon its blood supply, resulting in a medical emergency.

Gajdhar said: “Without urgent intervention, the compromised blood flow can lead to testicular necrosis (testicular tissue death), necessitating surgical removal. In this instance, although the testes were saved, the case highlights the critical importance of early detection and intervention.”


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