Seen your child clutching their tummy and bawling? There’s nothing unusual about it. Most children do, especially those in the age group of 3 – 11. But children complaining and crying of a stomach ache is no pretty sight. It can give you sleepless nights, make you worried and stressed. Let’s take a look at the causes of stomach ache in children and the treatment options.
Abdominal pain, its causes and treatment
In the majority of cases, abdominal pain can be harmless. But it’s not advisable to rule it out because it can also be a symptom of a variety of medical conditions. While in most cases, the condition can be treated at home, in less than 5% cases, the situation can be an emergency, requiring immediate hospitalisation and medical attention.
Some of the most common causes of abdominal pain are as follows:
Indigestion: What is often referred to as tummy upset, indigestion is caused by a wide range of reasons including overeating, binging on junk food, drinking too many fizzy drinks, etc.
Treatment: Give your child warm water to drink, tuck them into bed and place a hot water bag on their stomach may make them feel better. If the pain persists, give them antacid.
Constipation: This may cause stomach pain as well as nausea and vomiting.
Treatment: A fibre-rich diet along with gentle laxatives can relieve the condition.
Gastroenteritis: A viral or bacterial infection can be the cause of the condition which results in diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting and fever.
Treatment: It requires medical intervention including a stool examination.
Worm infestation: Often, roundworms cause this problem. Affects children who live in conditions where poor sanitation and contaminated water supply are common.
Treatment: Administering a course of anti-worm medications can put an end to the pain.
Chronic recurrent abdominal pain: Seen in late childhood (8 – 15 years), the condition is more common in girls than in boys. Typically there will be three or more episodes of severe abdominal pain along with vomiting and headache in a span of 3 – 4 months
Treatment: To rule out physical reasons, it requires seeing a physician.
No medication without doctor’s advise
In matters of children, be extra cautious. While home remedies such as warm water or hot water bags are fine for children, refrain from providing any medications to them without doctor’s advice. If your child complains of a severe stomach ache, take them to a doctor. If the problem persists, get them checked and make sure that it’s not a sign of a serious underlying health condition. At any circumstances, don’t try to give medication to your child, it can make matters worse.
Stomach pain is common in children. By encouraging them to eat healthy, avoid junk food and include fibre-rich foods in their diet can greatly help children to limit/avoid bouts of tummy ache.