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Abdominal Pain

Disponible En Espanol


Definition:

  • Pain or discomfort in the stomach (abdomen or belly)
  • Pain found between the bottom of the rib cage and the groin crease
  • The older child complains of stomach pain
  • The younger child points to or holds the stomach
  • Before 12 months of age, use the Crying care guides

Causes

  • Eating Too Much. Eating too much can cause an upset stomach and mild stomach pain.
  • Virus (such as Rotavirus). A virus can cause stomach cramps as well as vomiting and/or diarrhea.
  • Food Poisoning. This causes sudden vomiting and/or diarrhea within hours after eating the bad food. It is caused by toxins from germs growing in foods left out too long. Most often, symptoms go away in less than 24 hours. It often can be treated at home without the need for medical care.
  • Constipation. The need to pass a stool may cause cramps in the lower abdomen.
  • Strep. A strep throat can cause up to 10% of new onset stomach pain with fever.
  • Serious Cause. Appendicitis. Suspect appendicitis if pain is low on the right side and walks bent over. Other signs are the child won't hop and wants to lie still.
  • Stress or Worries. The most common cause of frequent stomach pains is stress. Over 10% of children have a "worried stomach". These children tend to be sensitive and too serious. They often are model children. This can make them more at risk to the normal stresses of life. Examples of these events are changing schools, moving or family fights. The pain is in the pit of the stomach or near the belly button. The pain is real.

Pain Scale

  • Mild: Your child feels pain and tells you about it. But, the pain does not keep your child from any normal activities. School, play and sleep are not changed.
  • Moderate: The pain keeps your child from doing some normal activities.  It may wake him or her up from sleep.
  • Severe: The pain is very bad. It keeps your child from doing all normal activities.

Disclaimer

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
    • You can have a conversation with your child's doctor.
    • Your child's doctor can perform a physical examination and any necessary tests.
    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
    • If your child is taking medications, they could influence how he experiences various symptoms.

If you think that your child is having a medical emergency, call 911 or the number for the local emergency ambulance service NOW!

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