Pain in your child’s abdomen (stomach) is fairly common. But for children, it might be difficult to locate the pain, which results in a hard time diagnosing the fundamental issue.
Oftentimes a stomach ache can be treated at home and is nothing to seriously worry about. But it is important to take the child’s pain seriously and to know how you can take care of your symptoms at home and when to consult your doctor.
What’s the abdomen?
The abdomen is the part of the body between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the hips. Beneath the abdomen lay most of the vital organs. Issues within that area can be the cause of pain, but even stress, anxiety or mental problems could result in an uncomfortable feeling.
Causes of pain can include:
- bowel (gut) problems such as constipation or colic in infants
- infections like gastroenteritis, kidney or bladder infections, or infections in other parts of the body like the ear or chest
- food-related problems such as too much food, food poisoning, food allergies, or the switch to new foods that are difficult to digest
- muscle strain
- surgical problems like appendicitis, bowel obstruction, or intussusception
- poisoning such as insect bites, eating poisonous food
- mental stress, for example something upsets your child at school or kindergarten
How to treat abdomen problems?
Treatment heavily depends on the original cause of the pain. It might be helpful to see your doctor for a consultation and diagnosis. Make sure to tell your doctor the exact time the pain occurs, since it might be linked to the intake of certain foods.
Why avoid antibiotics unless necessary?
The first years of your child’s life are particularly important for the development of a healthy body.
You should be especially careful about taking antibiotics during this time and opt for a different kind of treatment if possible. Antibiotics severely harm the gut flora, so rebuilding is crucial after taking antibiotics. That’s why abdominal pain after antibiotics is common and can occur for up to 4 weeks after the last treatment.
General suggestions on easing the pain include:
- Make sure your child gets plenty of rest
- Do not push children to eat if they feel unwell
- If your child is hungry, offer easily digestible food such as crackers, rice or bananas
- Heat treatment helps to relax muscles and cramps. You can place a hot water bottle on your child’s tummy or run a warm bath for them
Signs of real danger
Go to your doctor or the emergency department of your nearest hospital straight away if your child has:
- severe or worsening pain
- fever or chills
- become pale, sweaty, and unwell
- keeps vomiting for more than 24 hours
- refused to eat or drink for more than 24 hours
- blood in their vomit
- blood in their poo
- problems passing urine
- skin rash with pain
- case of rare appendicitis problems (symptoms include severe pain in the lower right side of the abdomen, fever, and vomiting)
So whether the pain is just temporary or is a more serious issue, make sure to give your little one extra love and affection, as well as special attention, so you don’t miss any serious symptoms and know when to get your child checked by a doctor.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (30 June 2020)