If you’re a parent, you probably already know that tummy aches are a common complaint for children of all ages. Tummy troubles come in all shapes and sizes, from a little bloating to severe cramping. Understanding specific symptoms and causes is essential to assess how you can help.
What Causes My Child to Have Tummy Aches?
The stomach is a major center of activity in the body. Every child is bound to have a tummy ache from time to time. Sometimes the cause can be hard to grasp.
- Indigestion and gas: Certain types of foods can upset the tummy and cause discomfort, like citrus, carbonated drinks, and spice. You may notice bloating and burping, as well.
- Overeating: Kids sometimes have a habit of eating too quickly, past the point of feeling full.
- Allergies and intolerance: In this case, you will notice tummy aches regularly occurring after meals. Lactose or gluten intolerance are common culprits.
- Infections: Nausea, diarrhea, and tummy pain can indicate a viral or bacterial infection. You may notice these in tandem with other symptoms, such as a fever or headache.
- Appendicitis: This is a cause of severe pain. Your child will barely be able to move. This condition is uncommon under the age of 5. Visit a doctor immediately.
- Stress: If you’ve ruled out all the other possibilities, stress is a likely cause. Sustained or high levels of stress are known to manifest as physiological symptoms. You will notice a pattern if this is the case.
Constipation in Children
Constipation, or trouble passing stool, can be prevalent in toddlers. Keep an eye on their bathroom habits. Some signs to look for are pain while passing stool, hard and dry stool, or less frequent bowel movements. Causes of constipation in kids can be a lack of fiber in their diet, bathroom anxiety, or significant changes in their diet and routine.
Determine What Part of the Tummy Is in Pain
Where the pain comes from can give you a big clue about the cause. Discomfort or bloating in the upper abdomen is a sign of indigestion. On the left side of the stomach, discomfort can point to constipation. The belly button area most likely indicates overeating or stress. Acute pain and swelling in the lower right abdomen can mean appendicitis.
What Can I Give My Child to Relieve Their Tummy Ache
You should always seek medical attention if you are uncertain about the cause of your child’s stomach pain. It’s better to be safe than sorry, as they say. Especially if it seems severe, do not attempt to treat it at home.
In every case, fluids are vital. Encourage your child to drink a lot of water. If the tummy is upset due to indigestion, bland foods are recommended. A heating pad and peppermint tea are great for easing discomfort.
When giving medication, make sure that it is specifically for kids. Laxatives help with constipation, and calcium carbonate helps with indigestion. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen can relieve cramping.