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Bronze like skin with nausea and stomach ache.

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my little boy has nausea and stomach ache and his skin looks a little sort of bronze this morning, I'm worried about what it may be

Category: Pediatrician

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Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
 27 Doctors Online

Dear parent,
Thank you for your query at

I can understand your concerns. But, I am going to request you to furnish more information so that I can help you.
1. How long has he been unwell? Does he have only nausea? Does he have vomiting as well?
2. Where is exactly this stomach ache felt? Is it in the upper or lower abdomen? Is it felt more to any one side? Is the stomach ache continuous or intermittent? How severe is it? Does he wake up with pain? Is it preventing him from him engaging in his normal activities?
3. You mention that the skin colour is little bronze!!! Which part of the body did you notice it on? Is it all over or restricted to any particular part of the body??
Can you please attach a clinical photograph?? Is there any mottling?? Is the bronze colour around the umbilicus in the centre of the abdomen or on the sides of the abdomen?
How is his overall well-being? Is he having his appetite? Is he taking orally? Is he passing urine and stools normally?
Dr. Saptharishi L G

Patient replied :

Hello, thanks for your reply, he has been unwell for a week with a cold symptoms but this morning he woke I noticed his skin looked darker over his stomach and around his flanks but normal colour over his rib cage. It is a subtle change I will try and take a photo and looks slightly mottled, he is normal seeming maybe a bit quieter than normal and complaining of nausea and tenderness directly over umbilicus.

Dear parent,
Thanks for replying to my queries. I would really appreciate if you could provide detailed answers to my individual queries. Secondly, please attach a photograph.
If the description that you provide is indeed accurate, it could suggest a serious condition. Children with accurate hemorrhagic pancreatitis usually have such discolouration.

Patient replied :

I tried taking some photos without waking him up, the slight colouration is more visible on the first, it does not look like bruising more like a sort of sun tan. He ate a normal meal at dinner time and is looking a little better, if it were his pancreas would he be feeling very unwell?

Dear parent,
Thank you for attaching a photograph. Unfortunately, as you have mentioned, not much can be made out. The flash and lighting makes interpretation of skin colour and tan very difficult.
When you meet a doctor in person, he or she uses his keen sense of vision, heating, touch and perception to reach a diagnosis. However in an online consultation, parents are the only source of all these inputs and we rely heavily on your sense of observation. So, our discussion over the online consultation should be focused towards identifying a line of action rather than specific or absolute decisions.
As you have rightly observed, a child with severe hemorrhagic pancreatitis would be significantly unwell. That is not there in your son. So, most probably, the problem is much less serious. It is possible that the skin discolouration is just a transient reaction to some local application like a sun tan, body soap, etc. However, no further diagnostic evaluation is possible without getting him examined by a paediatrician.
I would advise you to visit a paediatrician for further guidance.

Dr. Saptharishi L G
Category: ICU/ Critical Care Specialist
Senior Residency: DM,  Pediatric Critical Care, PGIMER

Residency: MD, Pediatrics, Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, 2013

Internship: JIPMER, 2009

Medical School: MBBS, Jawaharlal Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, 2008
Dr. Saptharishi L G and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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