Abdominal Pain in Young Children

By Medically reviewed by Dr. Duyen Le

For young children, abdominal pain is considered one of the most common problems occurred at this stage. Only 1 out of 3 children goes to see the doctor for this problem.

What causes abdominal pain in children?

Usually, the most common causes of abdominal pain to young children are eating and bowel habits. Most cases are not really serious. So, the treatment can be taken at home. However, parents usually get frightened and anxious when being unable to find the real cause of the pain. The solution is keeping an eye on their children to see whether the pain occurs solely without any other symptoms in next 3 hours. In this case, the pain is not severe.
Another cause for the abdominal pain of young children can be related to injuries around the stomach or an illness. The most common cause is constipation. Some more serious cases include food poisoning, appendicitis, and problems with the intestines. For young girls who enter the stage of puberty, abdominal pain happens every month and there are some months the pain are more severe than others.

Symptoms of serious abdominal pain

When moving to a specific area on the belly, parents have to understand children’s description to figure out the right area. Try to ask the children for information such as:
-The duration of the pain: Usually, a normal abdominal pain lasts less than 24 hours and is associated with gas and gut flu. Seek medical attention if this lasts over 24 hours.
-The location of the pain: For the normal pain, it is usually located in the center of the abdomen. If the pain is somewhere around, it is more concerning since the pain could be appendicitis.
-The appearance of the children: One simple rule is that parents should keep an eye on children’s reaction and the expression. Medicines should help at first. However, when children can’t eat or drink for too long even after having taken the medicines, medical attention is advised.
Some common symptoms that could occur are diarrhea, nausea, vomit, and fever. In this case, seeking medical attention is required so that the doctors can diagnose the real problem that causes the pain.
Further examination is compulsory, including a blood test, CT scan, and a stool sample in case of the following symptoms:
-The fever gets higher
-The children get a new worse diarrhea or vomiting
-Urinating pain
-Blood in the urine

For young children, abdominal pain is a common problem. However, parents should not neglect it. Since the symptoms can get worse without proper medical attention, parents should always keep an eye on the children’s pain and consult pediatricians when necessary.


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