Abdominal Pain in Children

My son is lying on the couch. Apathy and fatigue. He stares at the television without seeing it. A solitary tear rolls down his cheek. He's complaining of a tummy ache. He's not his normal bouncy self. How do I know if his tummy pain is just one of those things or something more serious?

Abdominal pain is a common complaint in kids health. The causes can range from something mild such as needing to go to the toilet to something more serious like appendicitis. It is quite common for a cause never to be found but for the tummy ache to go away by itself. Simple things like eating a healthy diet can help you avoid many tummy aches.

The Ultimate Guide to Children's Tummy Aches by a mother and pediatric doctor.

Appendicitis in Children

One of the more serious causes of a abdominal pain is appendicitis. That is when your appendix is infected and needs to be removed.

  • Low grade fever
  • Vomiting
  • Hamburger Test. They don't want to eat their favourite food.

Children normally have a low fever, vomiting and don’t want to eat anything. They can be quite unwell. The abdominal pain often starts in the middle of the tummy but then moves down and to the right. It is very painful if someone touches them.

If you are worried about appendicitis, go and see your doctor.

Common Causes of Abdominal Pain in Children

  • Constipation. Normally caused by not eating enough fruit and vegetables.
  • Gastroenteritis. A tummy bug that is normally caused by a virus. (Aka Diarrhoea and Vomiting.)
  • Infection somewhere else in the body (sometimes children’s lymph nodes in their tummies get enlarged, causing pain.)
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Just one of those things

Worrying symptoms of Abdominal Pain

Children often get a tummy ache that lasts a day or two and then vanishes. If your child is very unwell or it has been going on for a long time, you need to go and see your doctor.

  • Going on for a long time
  • Not eating over a period of time
  • Not growing well
  • Diarrhoea over a long period (2 weeks)
  • Blood in poo

Avoiding Abdominal Pain in Children

Many tummy aches can be avoided by eating a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables that keep you regular and stop you getting constipated. Regular exercise and being active also helps.

Drinking sufficient water can help prevent urinary tract infections.

Maintaining good hygiene whilst cooking, washing fruit and your hands before eating can help prevent viruses spreading and stop you fro getting gastroenteritis and other infections.

  • Diet full of fruit and vegetables
  • Drink sufficient water
  • Exercise
  • Good hygiene
  • Washing hands

Many tummy pains are just one of those things. After resting on the couch for an hour, my son brightened up and went off to play football. Can't be that bad right? But if you're worried that your child is unwell or they have worrying symptoms, you should take them to the doctor.

Abdominal Pain in Children by a pediatrician