Abdominal Pain, Age 11 and Younger
Abdominal pain in children is a common problem. About one out of three children is seen by a doctor for abdominal pain by the time they are 15, but only a small number of these children have a serious problem.
Complaints of abdominal pain are more common in children younger than 11 years old and are often caused by changes in eating and bowel habits. Most cases of abdominal pain are not serious, and home treatment is often all that is needed to help relieve the discomfort.
Abdominal pain in children is often frightening and frustrating for parents. Many times it is hard to find the exact cause of a child's abdominal pain. Pain without other symptoms that goes away completely in less than 3 hours is usually not serious.
In children, abdominal pain may be related to Reference injury to the abdomen or Reference an illness, such as Reference stomach flu Opens New Window, an Reference ear infection Opens New Window, a Reference urinary tract infection Opens New Window, or Reference strep throat Opens New Window. Constipation is a common cause of abdominal pain in children. Some more serious causes of abdominal pain in children include Reference appendicitis Opens New Window, Reference lead poisoning Opens New Window, or problems with the intestines, such as Reference intussusception Opens New Window or Reference malrotation Opens New Window. Girls who start having menstrual periods may have abdominal pain each month, and the pain may be more severe in some months than others.
Generalized pain occurs in half of the abdomen or more. Localized pain is located in Reference one area of the abdomen Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. Reference Babies and toddlers often react differently to pain than older children who can talk about their pain. A baby may become fussy, draw his or her legs up toward the belly, or eat poorly. Reference Older children may be able to point to the area of the pain and describe how severe it is.
Abdominal pain can occur one time, or it can occur repeatedly over several months. Reference Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) is a condition that affects children ages 4 to 11.
Reference Check your child's symptoms to decide if and when your child should see a doctor.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference January 13, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine