One illness that kids are frequently found to be ailing from is stomach ache. Its nature varies from mild to at times chronic, but in most cases a stomach ache is quite harmless and it’s only rarely that one is required to be admitted in a hospital because of it. The stomachache could be crampy or sharp or limited to a specific region in the body as in the case of one suffering from advanced appendicitis. Moreover, it could accrue in successive bouts or as an isolated chronic episode.
There could be other symptoms linked with an abdominal pain or stomachache like loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Since kids normally display varying degree of tolerance to pain, it is from these symptoms that the seriousness or the acuteness of the stomachache is determined. A pain is more liable to specify something really serious if it wakes up a sleeping kid or if it’s specific / localized in one part of the abdomen i.e. away from the umbilicus.
Causes of Chronic Stomach Ache in Children & Remedies
Also called ‘tummy upset’, indigestion is a major cause for stomachache in children. It accrues due to improper food habits like overeating and drinking fizzy drinks and junk food. Keeping hot water bottle over tummy may bring some relief.
Constipation is known to induce stomach ache, nausea and vomiting in kids. This condition can be recognized because the stools are hard and dry. Diet rich in fibre and gentle laxatives assist in bringing about some degree of relief.
Stomachache in children due to Gastroenteritis could happen due to a viral or bacterial infection. The most obvious symptom is diarrhoea, which is related with acute abdominal cramps, vomiting as well as fever. This condition can be confirmed via a stool examination.
Worm infection is another very common reason causing acute stomach ache in children. It is caused due to roundworms and normally ails those who live in unhygienic conditions and consume contaminated water. Taking anti-worm medications can cure this infection.
- Frequent Chronic Stomachache
It’s usually older kids who suffer from this kind of stomachache. Characteristically, there’s a history of three or more chronic pains stomachaches within a few month’s time. At times, it’s accompanied by vomiting and headache. The root cause of such stomachache is usually psychological and could accrue due to tension, anxiety, etc.
Stomach pain in kids could also happen due to allergy from particular kind of food constituents like lactose in milk. Some food preservatives employed for adding color while preparing cold drinks or pickles may lead to food allergies in some.
Though this may sound strange, but it’s true that certain kind of drugs like those prescribed for treating epilepsy or malaria as well as some antibiotics is known to cause stomachache in children.
How to Recognize Chronic Stomach Ache in Children?
When children suffer from stomachaches because of harmless reasons, the pain normally subsides after a couple of hours. But in certain cases like gastroenteritis, the cramp-like stomach pain may actually heighten with each bout of vomiting or diarrhoea. A doctor should be immediately consulted if the stomachache continues for more than three hours. However, if the stomachache is non-stop and seems to be continuously getting worse accompanied by vomiting and fever, then a doctor needs to be consulted.
How to Handle Children’s Stomachache at Home?
Let the kid lie on a bed and rest. Keep a warm water-bottle or heating pad on the child’s stomach for 20 minutes until the pain subsides.
Let the kid drink water from time to time, but only in sips. Do not feed him / her solid food. Small children tend to vomit when suffering from stomach pain, so keep a vomiting pan nearby.
Ask the kid to sit on the toilet and try passing a stool. This may lessen the pain.
Normally one should refrain from giving medicines to a child suffering from stomach pain without consulting the doctor. Avoid using any type of laxatives, enemas or painkillers. This is because laxatives and enemas may worsen the pain by rousing the bowel, whereas painkillers may camouflage a more acute ailment like appendicitis.
Conditions When the Doctor Needs to be Immediately Consulted
- The pain is chronic, continuous or lasts for over a couple of hours.
- The pain is intermittent and lasts for more than 24 hours.
- The pain is accruing from the scrotum or testicle.
- The pain is ensued by frequent vomiting and fever.
- The child looks very unwell.