How Do I know if My Child Has Abdominal/Stomach Pain?
Abdominal or stomach pain is a very common medical symptom in childhood. The pain could be acute or recurrent in nature. It may be associated with other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, loss of appetite etc, depending on the cause of the pain.
What Causes Abdominal/Stomach Pain in Children?
There are many possible causes of abdominal pain. It may arise from gastrointestinal causes or non-gastrointestinal causes (e.g. urinary tract, gynaecological system in girls and many other medical/surgical causes). Common causes include constipation, infant colic, gastroenteritis, food poisoning and urinary tract infection. However, some children could be suffering from more serious conditions such as acute appendicitis or intestinal obstruction, which will need medical attention urgently.
Your child’s doctor will need to take a history and perform a physical examination in order to diagnose the cause of the stomach pain. Sometimes urine/blood tests, X- rays or other scans may be required to help with diagnosis.
Consult Your Child's Doctor Early When:
- Any of the symptoms in your child, e.g. stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhoea, becomes worse within 12 – 24 hours
- Your child’s stomach pain becomes localised (e.g. in the right lower abdomen, as in the case of acute appendicitis)
- Your child’s stomach pain is severe, constant or lasts for more than 1 hour
- Your child’s abdomen becomes painful to touch
- Your child’s abdomen becomes distended
- Your child is unable to pass motion or gas
- There is fresh blood in your child’s urine, stools, or vomitus
- Your child’s vomit is greenish in colour
- Your child’s stools becomes black, sticky, and foul smelling
- Your child is having difficulty passing urine or has pain on passing urine
- Your child keeps vomiting and is unable to retain any oral fluids
- Your child is lethargic and appears unwell
- Your child is having fever
- Your child appears breathless or off-colour