Abdominal pain or a tummy ache is something all children get, and it’s distressing for them even though it’s most often nothing serious. If your child has abdominal pain, Ahmet Aybar, MD, can help at Annapolis Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition in Annapolis, Maryland. Dr. Aybar is a board-certified pediatrician who provides exceptional specialist services for children and young adults who have abdominal pain. Call Annapolis Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.

Abdominal Pain Q & A

What is abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain is discomfort somewhere between your child’s chest and their groin and is what your child would call a tummy ache.

All children get abdominal pain now and then, and most of the time, it isn’t anything to be worried about. Occasionally, abdominal pain is a symptom of a more serious health problem.

The type of abdominal pain your child has can give you an indication of what’s wrong. Ask your child to describe their tummy ache to you if they’re old enough. For example, if they say they’re having stomach cramps, the most likely cause is trapped gas.

When your child is too young to describe their pain, they depend on you to spot the signs of their discomfort. Typical symptoms of an infant or toddler having abdominal pain are being off their food, being more fussy than usual, and pulling their legs upward into their tummy.

What causes abdominal pain?

Abdominal pain can come from many different sources, a lot of which are common in children. Examples of these everyday causes of abdominal pain include:

  • Constipation
  • Trapped gas
  • Food allergies
  • Acid reflux
  • Eating grass or plants
  • Stomach flu
  • Food poisoning
  • Strep throat or mono
  • Colic
  • Swallowing air

Children are also prone to experiencing abdominal pain when they’re anxious or depressed.

Could my child’s abdominal pain be something serious?

It is possible that your child’s tummy ache might be due to a more serious health problem. If the pain is severe, getting worse, or doesn’t clear up within a day, it could be a sign of:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Appendicitis
  • Gallstones
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Hernia
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Stomach ulcer
  • Twisted testicle or ovary
  • Tumor

Children might also swallow something they shouldn’t, like a toy or a coin, for example, or eat poisonous substances like berries that can cause abdominal pain.

How is abdominal pain treated?

In most cases, home care is all your child needs to recover from their abdominal pain. Make sure they lay down quietly, and try and get them to take some sips of water. If they’re constipated, they’ll feel better when they pass the stool, so encourage them to try to go to the toilet.

Avoid solid foods for a couple of hours, then try small quantities of bland, easily digested food such as crackers or applesauce. Don’t give them milk or anything with a high-fat content.

You should also avoid giving them pain-killing medication unless, after consulting with Dr. Aybar at Annapolis Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, he recommends it.

When should I see a doctor about my child’s abdominal pain?

Your instinct about your child’s abdominal pain is often a good measure of when you need to take your child to see Dr. Aybar. If you’re worried, give him a call. You should definitely see him if your child:

  • Can’t pass any stools
  • Is vomiting blood
  • Has bloody stools
  • Is struggling to breathe
  • Has a rigid tummy
  • Says it hurts when they urinate
  • Has diarrhea for over two days
  • Vomits for more than 12 hours
  • Has a fever over 100.4°F (38°C)
  • Doesn’t want to eat after two days
  • Is losing weight unexpectedly

You should also contact Dr. Aybar if you have a baby under three months old that is vomiting or has diarrhea.

If in doubt, call Annapolis Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, or book an appointment online today.