Abdominal pain in children
Abdominal pain in children can have various different causes. For example, it could be caused by constipation, an infection, abdominal flu, an allergy or as a result of tension and/or anxiety. In most cases no ailment or disease will be discovered. A child’s intestines can be very sensitive to stress. So much so that 1 in 10 children regularly suffer from abdominal pain.
As described above, there are a multitude of different causes for abdominal pain in children. Your child may have the following symptoms with abdominal pain:
- Little or no pooping.
- Abdominal cramps.
- Pain when urinating.
- An ear infection.
- Pain in the upper abdomen.
- Pain in the lower abdomen.
- Abdominal complaints
- This can happen to girls who are having their first period.
- Hypersensitivity to certain foods and/or drinks.
- Tangling up of the intestines. This is very rare.
- Functional abdominal pain. Your child’s intestines can be very sensitive to changes in the body due to puberty or medication.
There are a number of things you can do if your child has abdominal pain, like:
- Making sure your child rests.
- Allow your child to ride out the abdominal flu and use ORS if necessary to prevent dehydration. ORS is available from the chemist or pharmacy.
- Talk to your child if there’s something bothering or worrying your child.
- Make sure your child eats healthy, fibre-rich food and gets plenty of exercise.
- Make sure your child drinks lots of water. The guideline is 1.5 to 2 litres a day.
- Make sure your child gets enough sleep and goes to bed on time. The guideline is 8 hours a night.
- Give your child paracetamol if your child is in severe pain.
- Keep an abdominal pain diary if the pain is lasting. This will allow your GP to arrive at an appropriate diagnosis.
- Avoid foods which result in symptoms. Also discuss this with your GP. Your child may have an allergy, in which case it’s important to discover the cause of the complaints. Then you’ll also be able to take the right action or prevent the abdominal pain from occurring.
- Talk to your GP about whether your daughter can go on the pill in case of severe period pain.
Immediately call your GP or the out-of-hours service:
- If your child is inconsolable and continues to cry.
- If your child has not been able to urinate for 24 hours or more.
- If your child is very drowsy, absent or confused.
- If your child has visible pain when you press on the lower abdomen.
Call your GP for an appointment if:
- Your child’s abdominal pain does not subside and gets worse.
- Your child is losing weight because of the abdominal pain.
- Your child continues to vomit and can hardly keep anything down.
- Your child has a fever and diarrhoea and if this has lasted for 3 days.
- Your child has watery diarrhoea more than 6 times a day and this has lasted for 3 days.
- Your child is drinking very little, has diarrhoea and is constantly vomiting. Your child will then be at risk of dehydration.
- Your child has diarrhoea and this hasn’t subsided after one week.
- Your child has mucus or blood in the stool.
- Your child has not passed any stools for more than 5 days.
For children under two years old, you must contact us the same day if:
- Your child is quiet, has turned pale and is breathing rapidly.
- Your child has watery diarrhoea 6 times a day. You will already need to contact us if this has only been going on for 1 day.
- Your child is constantly vomiting and can’t keep any fluids down.
- Your child has not urinated for more than 8 hours.