ABDOMINAL PAIN IN CHILDREN - CAUSES, DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
Stomach pain is common among kids. It is one of the most frequent reasons parents rush their kids to the ER. The common causes of sudden stomach pain in children are constipation, viral infection, and gastroenteritis. Other life-threatening causes are appendicitis (inflamed appendix), intussusception (a condition where part of the intestines slides into the adjacent part), twisting of the gut (volvulus), or obstruction.
Diagnosing stomach pain can be challenging. After asking you questions about the symptoms noticed, the doctor will examine your child. Mostly, symptoms are quite obvious for starting treatment. However, tests are sometimes necessary.
What Causes Abdominal Pain In Children?
Eating too much, the urge to use the restroom, anxiety, or stress about an upcoming event can result in stomach pain in children. The common causes of pediatric stomach pain are:
Constipation is among the most common causes of stomach pain in children. A child may have constipation if they have fewer than three bowel motions in a week or if their feces are unpleasant or difficult to pass. It is transient and can go away on its own.
A child complaining of stomach pain near the belly button may have gastroenteritis. Stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis, is an illness of the intestines and is brought on by viruses, including the rotavirus, adenovirus, norovirus, and enterovirus.
Abdominal pain in kids can also be caused by trapped wind, which happens more frequently in babies than in older kids. Caregivers can help a baby to pass gas or help them burp to expel wind.
Food-borne illnesses such as food poisoning
This occurs when your child consumes food contaminated with harmful microbes, frequently due to improper cooking and storage. It is similar to gastroenteritis in terms of symptoms.
Kids frequently fall, bump into things, or sustain injuries during sports. They can experience pain due to injuries.
Some kids might not be able to digest milk because they are intolerant to its sugar (lactose). Stomach aches can occur in children who are lactose intolerant if they consume dairy products.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Constipation, stomach bloating, and diarrhea are some symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a disorder that affects the colon or large intestine.
Infections of the urinary tract (UTI)
These are more prevalent in older kids and cause symptoms, including fever, frequent urination, and pain when urinating.
Babies frequently have colic, which seems to be quite unpleasant for them. Trapped wind is another possible cause of colic.
An organ or body tissue can become stuck if it protrudes through a weak point in the abdominal wall. This is a medical emergency. A strangulated hernia occurs when blood flow is interrupted, causing tissues to die.
The appendix, located in the lower-right corner of a child's abdomen, sometimes becomes inflamed, resulting in appendicitis. A ruptured appendix is a medical emergency and can be fatal.
Intussusception is an obstruction that inhibits the regular passage of solids or liquids. This can develop when a portion of the bowel slips into another. Children with intussusception may have drowsiness, bleeding from the bottom, and intense intermittent pain. A medical evaluation is necessary for intussusception, which is a dangerous condition.
A kid may experience pain in the abdomen due to the rotation of the testicle and twisting of the spermatic cord.
When they have their period, some children could have a stomach ache. It is referred to as dysmenorrhea.
Consumption of a foreign body
When a kid swallows any object, it will move naturally through the digestive system and out of the body. However, ingesting tiny objects such as button batteries or magnets might have fatal consequences.
What Are The Symptoms Of Abdominal Pain In Children?
Depending on the cause, stomach pain may be:
- Dull or sharp
- Mild or severe
- Worse when lying down
- Lasting for a few minutes or several hours
Along with stomach pain, other signs and symptoms can include:
- Passing gas and burping
- Reduced appetite
- Dizziness or vomiting
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Inability to sit still, fussiness, or irritability
- Abdominal swelling
How Is Abdominal Pain Diagnosed?
To identify the source of abdominal pain in children, doctors typically utilize a combination of testing and asking questions.
A doctor may evaluate a child by pressing on several areas of their belly and feeling for soreness and stiffness. They could ask if touching certain areas causes the pain to worsen.
There is no need for tests when a problem is quite apparent. If tests are required, they might consist of the following:
- Blood work
- Stool sample
- CT scans
- Other specialized tests
Treatment For Abdominal Pain In Children
The doctor's diagnosis will determine your child's course of treatment. Sending your child home with instructions to rest, drink fluids, and eat a bland diet might be sufficient if the cause of the stomach ache is minor. However, if your child complains of stomach pain every day, the underlying condition might be more serious. Hospitalization and surgery can be additional treatment options in certain circumstances and emergencies.
The care team will develop a treatment strategy once they have determined the cause of the discomfort. For example, treatment options for underlying anxiety or depression may include dietary adjustments, medication, or behavioral strategies depending on the underlying reason. Most children with stomach pain continue to grow appropriately and gain weight with the proper care.
Taking Care Of A Child With Abdominal Pain
Stomach pain in kids can be taken care of at home in the following ways:
- Ensure your child gets enough rest
- If your child is not feeling well, do not force them to eat
- Encourage your child to consume a lot of clear fluids, such as juice or boiled water that has been cooled
- Offer your child bland foods like crackers, bananas, rice, or toast if they are hungry
- Run a warm bath for your child or place a wheat bag or hot water bottle on their stomach
- If the pain worsens, paracetamol could be given.
Always check the packet carefully for the correct dose because dosages for children are different from those for adults. Do not administer aspirin.
Stomach Pain In Children: When To Worry And Seek Medical Help?
If your child has abdominal pain, it is essential to seek urgent medical help in the following cases:
- Severe or worsening pain, or a change in the location
- Fever or chills
- Skin rash with pain
- Appears pale, sweaty, and ill
- Refuses to eat or drink
- Persistent vomiting for more than 24 hours
- Problems passing urine or producing fewer than four wet diapers per day
- Any other issue that worries you
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Disclaimer: Please note that Mya Care does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided is not intended to replace the care or advice of a qualified health care professional. The views expressed are personal views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Mya Care. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen. Do not reproduce, copy, reformat, publish, distribute, upload, post, transmit, transfer in any manner or sell any of the materials in this blog without prior written permission from myacare.com.
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