Causes and treatment of stomach pain in children

Causes and treatment of stomach pain in children
Medically reviewed by Dr. Ola Tarabzuni

Overview

Stomach pain in children is a prevalent complaint. Mostly, the reason is not severe and can be due to a stomach bug, constipation, or hunger, but your toddler’s tummy ache can throw your world into a frenzy. Hence, it is best to be cautious and not assume that your child’s complaints of stomach pain every day are an excuse to skip school, as stomach pain in kids can sometimes be a sign of a more serious problem. Considering the tricky nature of this topic, we are here to help you learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of the common causes of stomach pain in children.

What causes abdominal pain in children?

Stomach pain symptoms are based on what’s causing your child’s stomach to hurt. Accompanying symptoms may include diarrhea, gas, cramping, bloating, nausea, or vomiting. It is essential to identify where your child is feeling pain in their stomach. The location/region of the pain can help determine the cause of the child’s stomach pain. For example, a child complaining of stomach pain near the belly button may be due to indigestion, gas, heartburn, or some other causes.

Additionally, characteristics, including the severity of pain, frequency, and accompanying symptoms, help to pinpoint the exact causes, which aids in treatment. The following are some of the causes that result in abdominal pain in children.

Is your child complaining of stomach pain near the belly button? Consult our doctor for more information.

Treatment for stomach pain in children

The treatment plan depends on the cause or underlying issue causing the pain. In some instances, rest, taking fluids, eating a bland diet, or passing stool can help relieve the pain. In some cases, hospital admission or surgery may be required.

Some measures that may help relieve mild stomach aches in kids include:

  • Make sure that your child drinks clear liquids and remains hydrated.
  • Giving a painkiller to relieve pain
  • Using a heating pad to ease cramps/pain
  • Using a bland diet, like crackers and soups,
  • Giving your child stool softeners in case of constipation in kids
  • Mixing a probiotic in your child’s water may help deal with diarrhea
  • Conditions like IBS, ulcers, or celiac disease are associated with inflammation in the intestines. Dietary changes/restrictions are required for the treatment of celiac disease.
  • For more severe conditions, hospital admission or surgery may be required.

Which medicine is used for stomach pain in kids?

Generally, abdominal pain in kids can be relieved with home care. Sufficient rest, hydration and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help eliminate the pain. Avoid solid food/bowel rest; passing stool or gas may help relieve the pain in some cases. Stomach pain or belly button pain in kids can have different causes. In order to get the best treatment, it is essential to address the cause. 

When should I be concerned about my child’s stomach pain?

Seek immediate medical attention or visit the emergency department if your child has:

  • severe or worsening pain 
  • fever or chills
  • pale and sweaty 
  • excessive vomiting
  • blood in their vomit 
  • refuses to eat
  • problems passing urine 
  • skin rash 

Consult a doctor

Call your doctor if your child feels worse and has developed a fever or symptoms that are not rapidly improving. Additionally, if your child has frequent stomachaches, it is crucial to track their dietary habits and any changes in the stool. Stomach pain in children is very confusing, and it can be hard to ascertain the exact cause, but you can contact a doctor at Your Doctors Online for help.

Consult our doctor to find out the cause of stomach pain in your toddler!

FAQs about stomach pain in children

How do I know if my child has appendicitis?

Vomiting, fever and intense colicky abdominal pain can be symptoms of acute appendicitis. If our child exhibits such symptoms, please seek immediate medical help.

Can I give my child Motrin for stomach pain?

It is best not to give Motrin or Tylenol for stomach pain, especially if you don’t know the cause. This may make the child feel more sick.

What if stomach pain comes and goes in children?

Rest and monitoring can be done at home in case of mild pain that goes away. However, if the pain worsens or is associated with other symptoms, it is best to see a doctor for evaluation.

Your Doctors Online uses high-quality and trustworthy sources to ensure content accuracy and reliability. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and medical associations to provide up-to-date and evidence-based information to the users.

  • McCollough, Maureen, and Ghazala Q. Sharieff. “Abdominal pain in children.” Pediatric Clinics 53.1 (2006): 107-137.
  • Berger, M. Y., M. J. Gieteling, and M. A. Benninga. “Chronic abdominal pain in children.” Bmj 334.7601 (2007): 997-1002.
  • DEVANARAYANA, NIRANGA, Shaman Rajindrajith, and H. Janaka De Silva. “Recurrent abdominal pain in children.” Indian pediatrics 46.5 (2009).
  • Korterink, Judith, et al. “Childhood functional abdominal pain: mechanisms and management.” Nature reviews Gastroenterology & hepatology 12.3 (2015): 159-171.

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