What Can Cause Stomach Pain In A Child
The most common causes of stomach pain in children include:
Additional stomach pain symptoms can vary based on what’s causing your child’s stomach to hurt, but may include cramping, diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea or vomiting. One of the most important symptoms to note is where your child is feeling pain in their stomach.
“One of the first questions we ask children is where their stomach hurts,” explains Dr. Mehta. “Location of the pain can help physicians determine what is causing the pain, in addition to other characteristics such as severity of pain, when it occurs, what makes it better or worse and accompanying symptoms.”
Does Your Child Need To See A Doctor About Stomach Pain
You should take your child to see your GP if your child:
- complains of severe pain in the tummy or it wakes them from sleep
- has tummy pain that doesnt go away, or that keeps coming and going
- is unwell or has a fever in addition to the pain
- complains that the pain gets worse when they move
- has diarrhoea or vomiting that doesnt go away
- is losing weight or has pain that affects their energy levels.
Take your child to a hospital emergency department straight away if your child has:
- bloody or green vomit
When To Contact A Medical Professional
Seek medical help right away or call your local emergency number if your child:
- Is a baby younger than 3 months and has diarrhea or vomiting
- Is currently being treated for cancer
- Is unable to pass stool, especially if the child is also vomiting
- Is vomiting blood or has blood in the stool
- Has sudden, sharp abdominal pain
- Has a rigid, hard belly
- Has had a recent injury to the abdomen
- Is having trouble breathing
- Abdominal pain that lasts 1 week or longer, even if it comes and goes.
- Abdominal pain that does not improve in 24 hours. Call if it is getting more severe and frequent, or if your child is nauseous and vomiting with it.
- A burning sensation during urination.
- Diarrhea for more than 2 days.
- Vomiting for more than 12 hours.
- Fever over 100.4Â°F .
- Poor appetite for more than 2 days.
- Unexplained weight loss.
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Signs To Watch For And Ways To Treat The Symptoms
Children of different ages will show different signs that they are experiencing stomach pain. Infants and young toddlers tend to express their discomfort with crying, scrunching up their faces and curling up their bodies. Young children may also cry or curl up, but they’re usually quick to tell you something hurts. Older children and teenagers may be reluctant to say that they feel any pain, but if they give a small indication you can ask more questions to further understand their symptoms.
If your child can speak, be sure to ask how long theyve had the pain and where the pain is located. Stomach aches caused by gas or a stomach virus often go away within 24 hours. Abdominal pain that lasts longer than 24 hours, however, warrants a trip to the doctor.
You can also note whether your child is vomiting or has diarrhea. Either of these symptoms won’t warrant a doctor’s visit immediately, but vomiting that lasts longer than 24 hours or diarrhea that lasts longer than 72 hours indicates there might be a more serious problem. If your child’s vomit or stool has blood in it after any length of time, you should go to the doctor for medical care.
Stomach Pain On The Left Side Of The Abdomen
If your child is complaining about pain on the left side of their stomach, it could be caused by something as simple as constipation to a more severe condition like pancreatitis. Dr. Mehta reminds parents not to panic just because their child is experiencing pain.
“Most of the time, stomach pain on the left side is caused by something mild, like constipation. Rarely, it can be a sign of something more serious,” she says. “Your child’s pediatrician can work with you to better understand the pain and symptoms your child experiences to ensure they receive an accurate diagnosis and more importantly, find relief.”
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Ingestion Of A Foreign Body
In most cases, when a child swallows an object, it will make its way through the gastrointestinal tract and pass out of the body unassisted. However, swallowing small items, such as button batteries or magnets, can cause life-threatening complications, and a child should go to the hospital immediately.
What Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Stomach Pain In Children
A parent or caregiver usually can notice pain in a child’s abdomen. Infants and very young toddlers may cry, express pain facially, and curl up. Young children are usually quick to tell you what is wrong. Some teenagers may be reluctant to report pain, and you must try to get a clear explanation of what they are feeling. Ask about these conditions:
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- CT scan of the abdomen
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How Can I Help My Child Explain Their Pain Symptoms
Young children and babies may not be able to tell an adult where they feel the pain, or what it feels like. When trying to work out your childs symptoms, it can help to ask simple questions, such as:
- Can you point to where it hurts?
- Did you wake up with the pain?
- When did you go to the toilet last?
Try not to ask leading questions or transmit your anxiety to them.
What Is The Stomach Flu
The stomach flu isnt actually the flu and it isnt caused by the same influenza viruses that normally cause the flu. The real flu attacks your breathing system nose, throat, and lungs. The stomach flu goes straight and mercilessly for the intestines.
The stomach flu is usually caused by one of three viruses:
21 million people the stomach flu every year. It also leads to about a million visits to the pediatrician every year in the United States.
These viruses act fast your child may get sick only a day or two after catching one. The stomach flu is also very contagious. If one child has it, chances are you and/or other children in your house will be sharing it within the week.
Other kinds of gastrointestinal infections are caused by bacteria. This includes food poisoning, which has slightly different symptoms than the stomach flu.
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How Do I Take Care Of A Child With Abdominal Pain
If you are taking care of a child with a sore tummy or abdominal pain:
- make sure that they rest
- it’s very important that they drink enough clear fluids encourage them to take small sips often
- if they dont want to eat, dont push them
- if they are hungry, give them bland food, such as crackers, bananas, or toast
- if simple pain relief is needed, paracetamol is usually the recommended pain relief medicine
- sitting on the toilet may help them do a poo, which may improve the pain
- distract them from the pain by reading a book, rubbing their tummy or with toys or quiet games
If a baby has abdominal pain, follow advice for pain management in babies. Burping the baby may help if the baby has wind.
If a baby is sick with gastroenteritis:
- breast fed babies should continue to be breastfed, but may need feeding more often
- oral rehydration solutions may be needed, as well as breast milk
- bottle fed babies may need their formula and oral rehydration solution
Home Care For Toddlers With Gas
The following tips may provide some relief for toddlers with gas problems .
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When To See A Professional
So when should you call your child’s health care provider? Call immediately if the pain is severe and has lasted more than an hour or its constant and has lasted more than two hours. Or if you are worried about appendicitis or if the pain actually extends into the scrotum or testicles of boys. You may be advised to go to the children’s emergency room for further testing that may not be able to be done in your doctor’s office to evaluate for those serious causes that may need a surgeon.
So abdominal pain is something that again, we see very often and there are so many things that could cause it. By working with your child’s doctor, you can figure out what the cause of the pain is and a plan to help your child.
When To Contact Your Childs Healthcare Provider
Along with the possible causes of stomach pain in kids listed above, we also offered some guidance on when to contact your childâs healthcare provider. However, there are many additional reasons children experience abdominal pain, and youâll need to watch for various signs and symptoms, some requiring more urgent action than others. Contact your healthcare provider ASAP or take your toddler to the emergency room if they have stomach pain and
vomit but donât have bowel movements
have blood or pus in the stool or vomit
have dark, tar-like stool or green or yellow vomit
experience sharp abdominal pain
have a rigid, hard, or swollen belly
have trouble breathing
had a recent injury
are being treated for a serious medical condition .
Other signs might require a regular consultation with your healthcare provider . They include
constant stomach pain lingering for more than 24 hours especially if the pain increases
stomach pain that comes and goes and lasts more than one week
diarrhea lasting more than two days
pain during urination
fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
loss of appetite or weight loss.
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Stomach Pain In The Lower Right Part Of The Abdomen
Appendicitis is a serious medical emergency that can cause sudden, severe pain in the lower right part of your child’s stomach. If your child complains of stomach pain that moves to the lower right side of the belly, watch for other symptoms of appendicitis including:
You should contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if you suspect your child has appendicitis. Early diagnosis decreases risk of a ruptured appendix or serious complications.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach Pain In Children
Its easy to notice stomach pain in children. Children experiencing stomach pain will often cry, express the pain facially, or curl up. Young children will also quickly inform you when they are experiencing any type of pain. When your child tells you that they are experiencing pain, you should ask some follow-up questions and monitor them to try and determine the cause of the pain.
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What Is Abdominal Pain In Children
Abdominal pain is pain felt anywhere in the area between the bottom of the ribs and the pelvis. It is very common in babies, infants and children under 12 years.
There are many different causes of abdominal pain in children, including trapped wind, constipation, gastroenteritis and appendicitis.
Most episodes in children are not serious and will get better without treatment in hours or days. But, if the pain is severe, does not go away, or your child seems generally unwell, take them to the doctor or hospital emergency department.
This page is about abdominal pain in children under the age of 12. Go here for information on abdominal pain in older children and adults.
Know When To Seek Help
Natural remedies for stomach aches can work wonders, but it’s necessary to know when to call the doctor. Deb Lonzer, M.D., chair of the department of regional pediatrics for the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, says that pain around the belly button is often the least concern. “Loss of appetite is more serious and would concern me after a few days,” she adds. “Constipation should be addressed within a week if a change in diet is not helping.” As a general rule, if your child is vomiting, has a fever, has blood in their stool, is not thriving, or looks worn-out all the time, it’s best to take them to the pediatrician.
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How To Prevent Stomach Ache In Toddlers
If your child constantly complains of stomach pain, you should not ignore it. There must be something wrong in his diet and you need to remedy it. Here are some tips that you can follow to prevent this problem.
Stomach ache is a common problem in kids. If your tot has a stomach ache, make him lie down on the bed in a comfortable position. Lie down next to him and read out his favourite stories to divert his attention. You can also try the remedies mentioned above to provide him relief from stomach pain. However, if these remedies fail to work and your child is unable to move or the pain is accompanied by a fever, take him to a doctor and seek medical attention at earliest.
How To Prevent Stomach Pain In Children
You may take some of the following measures to help your child from getting tummy aches that may result from indigestion, infection or constipation:
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Four Common Causes For Your Childs Tummy Ache
Has your child ever come to you and said, Mom/Dad, my tummy hurts?
You may wonder, Did they eat something that didnt agree with them? Have they pooped today? Figuring out whats going on inside their belly can sometimes feel like an episode of The Good Doctor.
While you may have a cast-iron stomach, your little one might not. Most children will complain of a stomachache at one time or anotherand not all will be digestive related. So, how do you know whether its something that will just pass or will require medical attention?
Although there are serious disorders that can cause abdominal pain, usually your childs stomach pain is something less worrisome. We dive into four common reasons for your childs tummy ache and ways you can put their stomach and mind at ease.
How To Stop The Vomiting
Theres no single surefire way to halt puking in its tracks. The sad-but-true reality: The best course of action is usually to simply let an illness run its course.
In fact, though it might be tempting to reach for medication for a vomiting child, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against using any over-the-counter or prescription anti-vomiting drugs in kids .
Using antibiotics to treat throwing up is especially discouraged, as many stomach illnesses are caused by viruses, not bacteria.
Typically, the more important goal is to make sure your child stays hydrated throughout their bout of sickness. As they lose fluids through throwing up, giving them plenty to drink is your best bet.
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