Parents: When a Tummy Ache is Something Serious

12531d686a189782fd347a4df787a868e30298ef_fotolia_76120694_subscription_monthly_mWhen your child complains of a tummy ache it can be difficult to determine whether there’s a simple explanation (like they ate too much mac n’ cheese) or if there’s something more serious going on.

Stomachaches are common among children, but in some cases a tummy ache can be a sign of a medical condition.

When evaluating the cause of your child’s digestive troubles consider the following:

1) Frequent Pain. If your child’s stomach  aches begin to interfere with school, social engagements or sporting events it’s time to consider a trip to the doctor. “It doesn’t necessarily signal disease, but it does signal that they need to seek medical care,” said Craig Friesen, MD, division director of gastroenterology and medical director of the abdominal pain program at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

According to Friesen, many stomachaches have to do with bowel movements. “Most of what I do with toddlers is tell them to go to the bathroom and, if it still hurts, to go play. If they don’t do either, then the child needs to be evaluated.”

2) Origin of the Pain. Most children under 8 don’t know how to differentiate between stomach pain and pain that requires urgent attention, according to Friesen. Appendicitis for example, is a serious medical condition which requires immediate attention, and may feel like stomach pain to a child. If your child is experiencing pain on the lower right side of their abdomen, they may be experiencing appendicitis and should be taken to the hospital for testing.

3) Other indicators. Additional signs your child’s condition may be serious include weight loss, fever, severe diarrhea, blood in the stool or vomit, pain in the upper right or lower right abdomen and or significant vomiting. If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms seek medical attention quickly.

At Dayton Dandes Medical Center we use integrative techniques to treat a wide variety of digestive problems. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained physicians.

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References
Everydayhealth.com: “Mom, My Belly Hurts: Common Digestive Issues in Children.”

The articles on this website are not to be construed as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.