Abdominal pain

​Acute abdominal pains are common in children and may be caused by a variety of reasons.

The most common causes of acute abdominal pain in children:

  • gastroenteritis or stomach flu
  • hernia
  • bowel obstruction
  • appendicitis
  • urinary tract infection
  • pneumonia
  • teenage girls will experience abdominal pain when they start to menstruate

When to seek medical assistance

 

Seek medical assistance if the pain becomes gradually more intense, is concentrated in a specific area, or the child develops high fever and projectile vomiting, or dysuria. Do not offer your child food or drink before a physician's examination. Giving your child analgesics is also not recommended, because it might prevent the physician from reaching the right diagnosis.

Treatment

Your physician will refer the child to specialist medical care pediatric emergency for further examinations, if necessary. When a child with abdominal pains is examined, monitoring the condition is essential. Be prepared to spend a long time at the clinic. Blood and urine samples are collected and in addition to a pediatrician's examination, your child may also be examined by a surgeon. Further care is based on monitoring and test results.
 

Colic

 

Baby colic usually begins when the baby is a few weeks old and continues until the baby is 4 to 6 months old. Typically, crying occurs in the late afternoon or evening and continues for several hours. The causes of baby colic are unknown, although it is believed that indigestion, feeding and wind may play a role.

Symptoms

  • furious crying
  • arched back
  • on average, crying lasts for three hours
  • occurs at least three days a week
  • the abdomen is tight and distended
  • passing stools offers relief

Treatment

There is no effective medical treatment for baby colic.

  • Feed calmly and peacefully, holding the baby in an upright position
  • Burp your baby during and after feeding
  • Administer drops that reduce the size of bubbles forming in the intestines; available over the counter in pharmacies
  • Movement (rocking chair, walking around, etc.). As your baby calms down, place him/her in their own bed.
  • Rhythmically tapping the baby on the back, or massaging the baby's back
  • Do not overfeed your baby. The stomach empties in a couple of hours and frequent feeding may make the pain more intense

 

Seek medical assistance if the situation feels overwhelming and the parents are exhausted.
 

Recurring or prolonged abdominal pain

Children may have frequently occurring bouts of abdominal pain. In most cases, these are caused by functional disorders and occur in small and school-age children. The pain remains the same and occurs on a few days every week, if not daily. When asked to locate the pain, the children usually point to the umbilical region. Pain may be mild, intense or anything in between. Despite the pain, your child is likely to actively participate in play. Feeding or eating has no effect on the pain.

Causes

  • baby colic
  • flatulence (wind)
  • functional disorders
  • constipation
  • food allergy
  • lactose intolerance
  • celiac disease
  • anxiety

 

Make an appointment at your local health center, for example, to map the causes of recurring or prolonged abdominal pains.