Tummy pain means pain or cramping anywhere in the tummy and/or in the groin. It is a common problem in school-going children. It is one of the most common causes for which children see their Pediatricians. Mostly, it is self-limiting and gets better on its own. But sometimes it needs urgent doctor’s attention.
Why does my child get tummy pain?
There can be many causes of abdominal pain. Abdomen in like pandora’s box. Apart from the stomach, the abdomen has many organs inside it like the liver, pancreas, intestine, spleen, gall bladder, kidney, etc. The problem in any of these organs can result in pain in the abdomen. In medical language, they are as given below:
- Stomach – Gastritis, stomach infections, reflux disease
- Intestines – Diarrhea, constipation, intussusception, appendicitis, celiac disease, lactose intolerance
- Liver – Hepatitis, gall bladder stone, Choledochal cyst
- Kidneys – Kidney infections (urinary tract infections), kidney stones
- Pancreas – Acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis
- In girls – Painful periods
- Many times, there is no cause is found for the pain. Such pain is stress-related or psychological
What should I do when my child gets tummy pain?
Any new onset of pain should be taken seriously. Consult a Child Specialist.
What tests are required for tummy pain?
As many diseases cause tummy pain, let your doctor plan the appropriate tests for it. A single test may not clinch a diagnosis and sometimes not a single test is required.
What treatment is required?
Medications may be given to decrease the pain. If the cause is found; appropriate treatment is given. Treatment may consist of pain killers, antispasmodics, antacids, or laxatives. Revisit as instructed. Avoid Aspirin or Ibuprofen for tummy pain.
What care should I take at home? Any home remedies I can use?
Take medicines as prescribed. Paracetamol (dose as advised by the doctor) can be used on as and when basis. Make the child drink plenty of water to keep him well hydrated. Keep a watch on pain patterns, decreased hunger, and urine output. Keep a diary of events.
What food should be avoided?
If the child has pain in the upper abdomen, then avoid spicy food.
If the child had a lot of farts associated with pain in the abdomen – avoid high fiber diet and milk for 2 weeks.
How frequently should I use deworming?
Contrary to usual belief, worms in the abdomen do not cause pain unless they are causing obstruction to the small intestine. So, routine deworming for tummy pain is not required. Use deworming if the child has frequent itching at his bottom, he has passed worms in the stool, or he is having anemia (Low Hb).
My child gets repeated attacks of pain. What should I do?
Few children get severe pain that lasts for months together or keeps disturbing the child quite frequently. Often no problem is found and the child is gaining good height and weight. Children get such kind of a pain in the abdomen when they are too much worried about themselves or the people around them. In such situations, try to find out the “stressor” at school, among peers or at home itself. The use of distraction techniques like such as reading a book or indoor game may help to alleviate the pain. Bring this to your doctor’s notice as well
When should I follow-up? (Danger signs to look for)
If pain persists despite treatment offered, do report to your doctor. If your child has severe pain or change in the pain, green-colored vomiting, any loose stools or blood in stools, injury to the abdomen, refusing to eat or drink, getting up from sleep because of pain or weight loss; inform your doctor.
- If your child has tummy pain and looks unwell, consult the doctor immediately.
- Many children, who have pain for a longer duration, do not have a serious problem and get well on their own.