In most cases, stomach problems in children indicate bowel dysfunction that manifests in the form of diarrhea and constipation.
Stomach aches in children are common and often occur from consuming unhygienic food and water. Food prepared in unsanitary conditions is a potent source of various infections that can eventually cause stomach and intestinal ailments. Stomach problems in children can manifest in the following way:
Diarrhea: In this condition, the child defecates watery stools and frequency of bowel movement also increases. The child may go to the toilet 3 to 4 times in a day to pass stools. Diarrhea is a viral infection and causes abdominal pain during bowel movement. In most cases, diarrhea in children does not last long and within a week the condition goes away without any treatment. As diarrhea leads to dehydration, it is essential that the child drinks plenty of water and other fluids.
Constipation: Constipation that causes infrequent bowel movement, is marked by passage of dry and hard stools. Painful defecation is a common complaint among children affected with constipation. In most cases, the condition is not serious and resolves without any medical intervention. Drinking plenty of water, complemented by a high fiber diet, will make the stools soft and bulky, allowing painless bowel movement. Laxatives (if any) should be given only after consulting a doctor.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): This condition causes development of ulcers in the inner lining of the large intestine. IBD in children is characterized by inflammation of the large intestine, followed by stomach cramps and diarrhea. When IBD is severe, blood in the stools is observed. Oral medications are prescribed to relieve symptoms associated with IBD.
Parasitic Infection: Intestinal infection of parasites such as roundworm, whipworm or hookworm can also cause abdominal cramps, gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, foul-smelling stools and distended stomach. Coming in contact with infected soil and eating contaminated food are some of the factors that increase the risk of exposure to parasites.
Stomach Flu: Also known as gastroenteritis, the condition can occur due to a bacterial, viral or a parasitic infection. Often marked by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, stomach flu can cause severe abdominal pain.
Appendicitis: Appendicitis is a term that refers to an inflamed appendix. The appendix is a tube, 3-4 inch long, bulging out from the large intestine. Actually, it is an extension of the large intestine that gets inflamed due to an infection. An obstructed appendix not only causes infection, but also causes unbearable stomach pain. Appendicitis requires urgent medical attention, and mostly a surgery is performed to remove the appendix.
On the whole, washing hands before eating is one of the prerequisites to keep digestive tract healthy. All in all, proper food handling and sanitation is the first line of defense against foodborne pathogens and will surely keep stomach problems at bay.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.