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Hard Bloated Stomach in Children

Hard Bloated Stomach in Children

There can be a number of reasons why hard bloated abdomen in children may be observed. It is essential to recognize the causes and delve into the treatment options to relieve this disorder in children. This article provides some information about the same.
Marlene Alphonse
Last Updated: May 22, 2018
Abdominal problems can affect anyone, right from a baby to an elderly person. Hard bloated stomach in children can be quite an uncomfortable and worrisome condition. Though a distended or bloated abdomen is not always indicative of a serious condition, it is necessary to get to the root cause of the problem and treat it. It can be distressing to watch a child in pain or discomfort always. It is necessary to seek medical intervention to treat these disorders in the initial stages, rather than allowing them to intensify and cause other problems.
Causes
There can be several reasons why children experience a hard bloated stomach, accompanied by pain and discomfort. The causes may be minor or even appear to be chronic. It is always better to observe the symptoms and treat them accordingly. Here are some of the reasons for the same in children:
Appendicitis
To clear the common misconception, that appendicitis only affects adults, a few cases have also been observed in children. Appendicitis in children is also caused due to the same reasons that affect the adults. A child affected by this condition may exhibit symptoms like hard bloated stomach with pain, especially on the right side, fever, and nausea. This infection can be treated with the help of antibiotics and in some cases it is also removed surgically. A failure to seek prompt medical intervention, in case of suspicion of appendicitis in the child, can cause the condition to worsen. The appendix may also rupture, and lead to serious complications.
Celiac Disease
This digestion-related disorder is caused due to gluten intolerance. This disease damages the inner lining of the small intestine, making the intestine incapable of absorbing nutrients. Abdominal pain and diarrhea are also common problems in children affected by celiac disease. Owing to malabsorption or reduced absorption of the essential nutrients, the child may also experience vitamin deficiencies that deprive the body of nourishment. Though there is no cure of this disease as yet, a change in the diet can help manage this condition to some extent.
Constipation
Children often are quite fussy about drinking water. Low intake of water can harden the stool and make it difficult for it to be eliminated from the body. Changes in the diet may also be a cause of constipation, till the child's stomach adapts itself to the change. This hardened stool can cause pain while it is passed and to avoid the pain, the child becomes reluctant towards bowel movement. This infrequency of bowel movements and dry and hard stools give rise to this gastrointestinal problem. Encouraging the child to consume foods rich in fiber and drinking ample amounts of fluids can help in alleviating this disorder.
Giardia Infection
Giardia infection can be contracted due to ingestion of contaminated water or also while coming in contact with an infected person. Also known as giardiasis, children can also experience this infection, if they consume contaminated food or water. Poor sanitation is also one of the causes of this parasitic infection. The symptoms of this disorder are watery diarrhea, hard bloated stomach, abdominal cramps, etc. Some children may also experience fever and nausea-induced vomiting.
Indigestion
Children have a habit of swallowing food without chewing it properly. This is the reason why food does not get completely digested. The undigested food tends to get accumulated in the intestines, causing the abdominal region to bloat and become hard. If the child experiences bloating and stomach pain too often, accompanied by nausea-induced vomiting, then there is a chance that he/she is affected by indigestion. Fortunately, the symptoms of this condition are easily treatable and they can also be prevented by adapting a few dietary changes.
Lactose Intolerance
Some children may develop lactose intolerance or any other food allergies when they are very small. As they grow up, these allergies may either subside or intensify. In case of intensification, it is necessary to consult a pediatrician, who may guide one on the condition and also administer the appropriate treatment to reduce its severity. The signs for this can be noticed as vomiting, upset stomach, and sometimes the child also experiences abdominal cramping.
Some Remedial Measures
Before going to the doctor, one can make use of some home remedies to provide relief from the pain. Here are some remedial measures that one can try out to ease the condition.
  • Encourage the child to drink plenty of water and other fluids like fruit juices. Increased water intake will reduce constipation
  • In case the child is constipated and has difficulty passing stool, make him drink a glass of warm water at regular intervals. This will help in easy bowel movements. Mild laxatives are also used to treat this condition.
  • To relieve indigestion, a light concoction of mint tea can be given. In case of an infant, gripe water will effectively relieve this condition and the pain caused due to it.
  • A mild over-the-counter antacid can also be given in the case of indigestion. However, keeping in touch with a health care provider will always prove to be helpful.
It is essential to note down the symptoms exhibited by the child, and report them to a pediatrician for an appropriate treatment. A delay may lead to unnecessary complications, which can be avoided with timely diagnosis and medical intervention.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.