Most abdominal pain in children is minor but it can sometimes signal
serious illness. The abdomen is the area between the bottom of the
rib cage and the groin. There are many organs in the abdomen and any
of them could cause pain. Abdominal pain in children is most often
caused by minor stomach irritation, such as a virus. In some cases,
the cause may be more serious: appendicitis, food poisoning or other
poisoning, or severe infections. Often the cause is unknown.
SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE:
Abdominal pain, which may be:
• Mild to severe.
• Sudden or come on gradually; be constant or come and go.
• Cramping, aching, burning, sharp, or dull.
• Accompanied by diarrhea, bloating, constipation, gas, nausea,
vomiting, fever, difficulty urinating, or other symptoms.
WHAT YOUR DOCTOR CAN DO:
• Ask about symptoms, do a physical exam, and order laboratory tests
(blood and urine) and x-rays or scans if necessary.
• Recommend "watchful waiting" - Observe the progress of the
condition for a while since it may resolve itself.
• It is difficult to determine the cause in many cases.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
• Have your child drink water (or other clear liquids e.g., chicken
broth or ginger ale) to replace fluids lost from vomiting, diarrhea,
and fever. This helps prevent dehydration.
• Teach him to drink slowly but often, taking many small sips.
• Offer the BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice (plain), Applesauce and Toast
• Take his temperature. Report any fever to your doctor.
• Have him rest until feeling better.
• Avoid giving laxatives, painkillers, or other medicine unless your
doctor advises it.
• Avoid giving fried or fast food (high in fat); cola or chocolate
(caffeine); or milk products.
• Watch closely for changes or new symptoms and report them to your
HELP YOUR CHILD DESCRIBE THE PAIN. THIS CAN
HELP FIND THE CAUSE. WRITE DOWN:
• When it occurs: the time of day it starts, how long it lasts,
whether before or after eating, before or after activity.
• Where it hurts: What part of the abdomen? As exactly as you can
• What kind of pain: Is it sharp, dull, throbbing, burning,
radiating, piercing, squeezing, stabbing, tearing, or cramping?
• What makes it better? What makes it worse?
• What other symptoms are there?
• If your child is vomiting or has diarrhea, how much?
CALL 1061 OR SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL
ASSISTANCE If your child is having abdominal pain and
before giving him medicine, since it may cover up the real problem;
or if symptoms worsen or change including developing fever,
increased pain, vomiting, weakness, or dizziness.