Stomachache or abdominal pain is a common problem for children. It is often caused by harmless conditions such as overeating or not eating enough food, having intestinal gas or a mild viral infection. Children may also experience abdominal pain if they have another illness such as an ear, throat or lung infection. However, there are some serious conditions that may require surgery.
Children who have recurring stomachaches should always be examined by a doctor. Repeated stomachaches may be due to illnesses such as constipation or urinary tract infection . If there are additional symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and/or blood in the child's stools, the child may have a chronic intestinal disease like Crohn's disease , ulcerative colitis , or celiac disease
When did the pain start?
Is the pain constant, or does it come and go?
Is it in the same each time or does the pain's location change?
Is there anything that seems to trigger the pain?
How long does the pain last?
Is there anything that makes the pain better or worse (such as food, hunger, or body position)?
Are there other symptoms, such as fever, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, presen
Overall, how is your child's condition? Is she less active than usual?
Has your child lost any weight?
Common causes of abdominal pain
- Let your child lie down and rest until he feels better.
- If your child feels nauseous or is vomiting, give him small sips of clear fluid and avoid solid foods.
- If your child is having a stomachache because of constipation, encourage him to go to the toilet. This will often ease the pain. Natural laxatives such as prune juice and fruits (pears, apricots and peaches)may help to relieve the constipation. A warm bath can also help your child relax so that he can use the toilet
- Do not give your child pain relief medicines or laxatives if you don't know what the cause of the stomachache is. Some medicines such as ibuprofen can cause stomach pain
- Children with recurring abdominal pain may be troubled psychologically. If you suspect that this is the case with your child, take him to the doctor for a thorough exam
- If a recurring stomachache is due to psychological troubles, talk to your child about what may be bothering him.
- Make sure that your baby is getting enough to eat. Hungry babies cry! If necessary, weigh your baby periodically to make sure that he is eating enough to gain weight. Also, babies often want to suck even when they are NOT hungry, so a pacifier may help in these cases.
- Burp your baby frequently, because swollowed air can make colic worse. To prevent your baby from swollowing air, make sure that he is in the correct position for breast feeding. You can try different positions as well to see which one works best for your child. For babies that are bottle-fed, try different types of bottles to see which ones can minimize swallowed air.
- You can give your baby a massage. However do not overstimulate your child because this may make him even more unsettled. Also try carrying and rocking your baby. If that doesn't help, you can try swaddling your baby with a blanket and let him lie quietly in the dark.
- Give your baby a hot bath or try giving him a pacifier. Some babies sleep better after a hot bath. Some babies are calmer after they have had a pacifier.
- Avoid smoking. Nursing mothers who smoke increase the risk of having a colicky baby.
- Some infants may have a sensitivity to dairy proteins. So if you are nursing, avoid eating any dairy products such as milk, cheese and butter for a week. For formula-fed babies, trying giving your child a soy-based formula. If your baby's condition improves, you can reintroduce diary products after 14 days and observe whether the colic returns. After a while, your baby should be able to tolerate the dairy products that you eat. Mothers who are not drinking milk, you should take calcium supplements. Also avoid caffeine found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate.
- Some colicky infants will respond to singing, music or monotonous sounds (like the sounds of a washing machine or a vacuum cleaner). Other infants may calm down from repetitive movements like those from a car ride or on a swing.
- No medicine has been shown to improve colic.
- There is NO magic cure for colic! However, research has clearly shown that babies who have colic do outgrow it and grow up to be normal, healthy children.
- Give your child plenty of fluids (like water or juices) to drink. This should help ease her constipation
- Avoid overfeeding your child on milk or other dairy products because they can cause constipation. Children over 12 months old should not drink more than 16-24 ounces of milk in 24 hours. Also, some children may have a sensitivity to milk, so their condition should improve after taking milk completely out of their diet. However, in this case, give your child calcium-fortified soy milk to make sure that she gets enough calcium in her diet.
- Babies on formula may become constipated. Try adding 2-3 teaspoonfuls of prune juice or corn syrup for each 4 oz of formula
- A healthy diet is the key to preventing constipation. Have your child eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in order to get enough fiber. Also have her drink plenty of water and other fluids, especially in warm weather. Also, eating too much meat and sugar can cause constipation
- Teach your child good toilet habits. Start toilet training as soon as your child shows the motivation for this. Use the time after meals for a trip to the toilet. Set up an area in the bathroom just for your child so that she will be happy sitting on the toilet. Use rewards like stickers as an incentive for the child, even if it is just for sitting on the toilet.