A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Stomach pain in kids: Serious or not?

Kids-Frequent-Stomach-Aches / Girl with stomach ache

As parents, we often shrug it off as something they ate, constipation or gassiness, but some signs point to more serious conditions.

It is common for children to come to you with stomach pains or aches. As parents, we often shrug it off as something they ate, constipation or gassiness.

While these are common reasons for stomach pains or aches, some signs point to more serious conditions.

“What you need to keep in the back of your mind are the more worrisome causes of abdominal discomfort,” said Dr. Jeff Clark, pediatrician with Marshfield Children’s.

Internal organ concerns

Appendicitis is a concern if your child is experiencing extreme pain right below the belly button that migrates to the right lower quadrant of the abdomen. Additional side effects can include:

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.

“If your child is walking around crouched over, they can’t walk fast or they are experiencing pain when driving over a bump, you should get your child checked out right away,” Clark said. If you are concerned your child has appendicitis, you should go to the emergency department.

In children that are in grade school, your child’s pediatrician may also be concerned about other internal organ issues. Make sure to tell your child’s pediatrician if:

  • Your child’s health history includes internal organ issues.
  • Hepatitis occurred during your pregnancy.

Bowel movement concerns

Issues with your child’s poop is a clear red flag for certain health conditions.

Blood streaking on stool or some drops in the water are common with constipation. However, a significant amount of blood is more troubling. If your child has blood coming out of their rectum, you should talk to their pediatrician.

If you have traveled recently or went camping and your child has foul-smelling diarrhea, you should tell their pediatrician.

Other concerns

While there are some concerns that are more serious, others may have a simple answer.

For example, females could have pain in their ovaries if they are starting their period. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis and pregnancy may be additional reasons for abdominal pain. For males, testicular problems may be reported as abdominal discomfort.

Mental health concerns can also cause abdominal pain. Anxiety is a common reason people may have stomach issues.

If the stomach ache has additional symptoms like a skin rash, joint soreness or puffy joints, a food allergy or intolerance may be to blame.

If you have any concerns about your child’s stomach ache, talk with their pediatrician to learn more.

  1. Nov 5, 2019
    • Nov 6, 2019

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