There are several types of hemolytic uremic syndrome, including typical hemolytic uremic syndrome, atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome, and streptococcal pneumonia associated hemolytic uremic syndrome. Individuals who are most at risk include anyone under five years old, who consumes unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat, and who comes in contact with another individual infected by certain strains of E. coli.
Individuals who do not wash their hands after handling farm animals or swim in unclean water are also at an increased risk of developing hemolytic uremic syndrome. A diagnosis is made with urine testing, blood testing, stool testing, physical examination, and kidney biopsy. Treatment for this condition may include dialysis, blood or platelet transfusions, intravenous fluids, and plasma exchange.
Abdominal pain is most often seen in individuals affected by typical hemolytic uremic syndrome caused by an infection with a harmful strain of E. coli bacteria. The E. coli bacteria invade the intestinal tract and produce a byproduct called Shiga, which is toxic to the specialized tissues that make up the lining of the intestines. The Shiga toxin causes damage to the lining and blood vessels that supply the large intestine lining, crippling its ability to absorb fluid from the stool properly.
Abdominal pain occurs because of the irritation, inflammation, and swelling in the intestinal tissues due to the tissue damage. The immune system responds to tissue damage in the intestine and causes further inflammation of not only the intestinal tissue but other structures around it. The nerves in the intestinal wall send pain signals to the brain in response to the damage, and the nerves in surrounding tissues become irritated from swelling and the influx of immune components to the site.