Many children fake a stomach ache to miss school or for not completing their homework. This fake tummy ache always earns them lot of love and kisses from their moms and dads. The pain miraculously disappears, just as the school bus leaves the neighborhood. Well, the only cure for this pain is a loving reprimand. But you should trust your instincts and check for the causes of stomach pain in children.
What Causes Stomach Ache in Children?
Stomach aches forms a part of trivial health problems most of the time. Children get better on their own. There are ample of stomach ache causes. Stomach ache is mostly due to eating too much food, especially spicy foods or foods that they are allergic to. Eating too many candies and ice creams may also cause stomach ache. Constipation is another reason that leads to abdominal pain. Eating junk foods also contribute to this ailment. Acidity and gas formation from drinking fizzy drinks may also cause stomach aches in children. Children tend to swallow their food before chewing them properly. This may cause indigestion and result in pain and discomfort in the stomach. Severe pain may be due to appendicitis or intussusception. School-going children may suffer from stomach ache due to stress.
In some cases, children are lactose intolerant. So you need to watch out for stomach aches that crop up after eating or drinking dairy products. In some rare cases, a child may complain of stomach pain, if he/she has a habit of eating inedible things like raw rice, rubber, paper, mud, even soap. As a parent you need to monitor your child's habits to make sure it does not lead to any health complications.
Girls may complain of stomach pain before the start of their menstruation cycle. This is quite common in girls over the age of 9 years. At times it may occur due to behavioral issues in children. A child may feel left out or is vying for parents attention may complain of frequent aches. Sometimes a child trying to avoid going to school due to a fear or abuse will complain of tummy trouble. As a parent, one needs to spot the underlying behavioral or attention seeking issue of the child and address it as soon as possible in a positive way.
What are the Symptoms of Stomach Pain in Children
- Gas formation may cause generalized pain in the abdomen
- Appendicitis may cause sharp pain localized in one area of the stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- The child suffers from pain in the abdominal area that is away from the umbilicus
Time to Visit a Doctor
- If your child has severe abdominal pain that makes him unable to even get up from bed
- If your child suffers from recurrent bouts of abdominal pain
- When stomach ache is accompanied by fever
- When stomach ache is accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting
- If the pain worsens with every move the child makes
- If you observe blood in the child's stools
- If you suspect or see the child swallow anything poisonous
- If the child wakes up in the middle of the night with severe pain in one localized area of the stomach.
Chronic Stomach Ache in Children
Chronic abdominal pain in children is the pain that occurs for more than two weeks. Not only does the child suffer from chronic pain but the parents have a bad time as well. The constant stomach ache is caused due to the following factors.
- Indigestion: The major cause for constant stomach ache in children is indigestion. Children eat their food in a hurry and do not chew properly. Also, they love to eat junk foods and fizzy drinks that lead to chronic stomach ache.
- Gastroenteritis: Any bacterial (Salmonella, Shigella, Staphylococcus, etc.) or viral infection can cause constant stomach pain in children. The most common symptom to detect an infection is diarrhea and/or vomiting. Fever and stomach cramps are symptoms, also related stomach infections.
- Worm Infestation: The most common reason for constant stomach pain in children is intestinal parasites like worms. They not only cause chronic stomach ache in children but also acute stomach ache. The main culprit for abdominal ache in children is roundworms. They are usually ingested by children drinking contaminated water or due to unhygienic conditions.
- Drugs: Drugs prescribed for treating epilepsy and malaria can cause stomach problems in children.
How to Treat Stomach Ache in Children
Give the child complete bed rest to recover from the stomach ache. You can give him a hot water bottle for sometime or till the pain lessens. Ask your child to sip some water regularly. Do not feed him with a heavy meal as this may cause vomiting. Do not give him any medication without consulting a doctor. If stomach ache is accompanied by fever, visit the doctor immediately.
Give your child some ginger ale, ice candy or gelatin desserts to make him feel better. If your child is under 1 year of age, and if you suspect stomach ache, visit the pediatrician immediately. Tummy aches give sleepless nights to children and their parents. Trust your parental instincts for the stomach ache symptoms and help your child get cured soon.