Parents are no stranger to stomachache in children. It’s a fairly common complaint that, in most cases, it does not need medical attention. There are natural ways to soothe your child’s pain, which you can do at home. However, even with the presence of natural remedies, remember that you also have to look out for signs and bring your child to the doctor if these symptoms worsen.
In this article, we will discuss the most common causes of stomachache in children, the natural remedies, and when you should seek medical help.
What Are the Common Causes of Stomachache in Children?
As mentioned earlier, stomachache in children is often non-life-threatening. These mild conditions may cause the child’s abdominal pain:
- Gastrointestinal problems, like constipation and diarrhea
- Too much gas in the tummy
- Food problems, such as intolerance or allergy, and food poisoning
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Stomach flu
- Strep throat
- Colic; this happens when the baby intensely cries for a prolonged period. This sometimes becomes frustrating for parents because they can not pinpoint the exact reason why their baby is so fussy.
What Should You Consider if Your Child Has a Stomachache?
Although it is quite hard to ascertain what causes stomachache in children, you can consider the following:
In babies, colicky pain comes in waves. This means that they come quickly and disappear just as suddenly. Often, colicky pain is severe that the baby is inconsolable.
Mild conditions often cause generalized pain. Conditions like constipation, indigestion, gas, or stomach flu cause generalized pain. When we say generalized pain, the child cannot point to an exact location of the ache. If you ask them to point where it hurts, they indicate their whole tummy.
Bloating and gas can cause cramp-like pains. You can notice it fairly easily when it is followed by diarrhea. This kind of stomachache in children is often not serious.
Localized pain could stem from a more serious condition. If your child can pinpoint the exact location of their ache, it means that the pain is localized. They could have problems connected to their appendix, ovaries, testicles, or gallbladder. Additionally, they could also have ulcers or hernia. A hernia is a condition where an organ “pushes” through a muscle wall or opening.
Home Remedies for Stomachache in Children
In treating stomachache in children, you may try the following:
- Ask your child to lie down quietly and see if the pain will subside.
- Given them water or clear fluids. They should not take huge gulps; instead, ask them to take small sips.
- Encourage them to pass stool.
- Refrain from feeding them solid food for a couple of hours. Afterward, give them small portions of bland foods like rice and crackers.
- To soothe the pain, apply a warm compress on their tummy. You can also give them a warm bath.
- For indigestion, you can give milk to your child, unless they are lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance is a condition where your child cannot properly digest the sugars in the milk.
- If your child has diarrhea, try the BRAT diet for them. This diet includes banana, rice, apple, and tea. For tea, you can try ginger tea.
- If constipation causes abdominal pain, give your child fruits and vegetables and lots of water. You can also make them eat cereals with high-fiber content.
2 Drink Preparations for Stomachache in Children
The following are drink preparations that can help soothe your child’s abdominal pain:
Lemon juice and baking soda mixed in water may improve digestion and soothe an upset tummy. Additionally, it can also relieve gas and constipation.
To prepare this juice for stomachache in children, you need one lemon, baking soda, and water. Mix 8 ounces of clean water, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Stir and serve to your child. Remember to let them drink it slowly, preferably in sips.
Should you suspect that acid is causing your child’s abdominal pain, you can try to brew some ginger. Ginger has antioxidants that boost digestion and regulate the acid in the stomach. Additionally, it also fights inflammation.
To prepare ginger tea:
- Take some ginger root and peel the skin.
- Cut them into smaller pieces.
- Add the chunks in boiling water.
- Let it boil for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Strain the ginger.
- Serve the tea.
Remind your child that it will be hot. If they do not want to drink it because of the strong taste, you can add some honey.
How Can You Prevent Stomachache in Children?
Aside from the home remedies, you can do the following to prevent future abdominal pain in your child:
- Supervise your child’s food intake. This is because overeating can cause stomachache. It is also advisable to eat small meals frequently.
- Promote regular bowel movement by encouraging them to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Guide them to wash their hands properly and frequently, especially before eating.
- Give them time to exercise.
- Reduce intake of foods that might give them gas. Additionally, discourage them to chew gum as it makes them swallow air.
When to Seek Medical Help
While most causes of stomachache in children are non-life-threatening, you must still lookout for some red flags. If you notice the following, be sure to go to the doctor:
- They experience sharp abdominal pain, especially on the upper right side (this might indicate appendicitis).
- The pain has worsened or has not improved in the past 24 hours.
- The pain has moved to another location in the abdomen.
- Your child reports a burning sensation when urinating.
- Diarrhea has persisted for more than 2 days.
- The child is vomiting for more than a day.
- There is blood in their vomit or stool.
- The child cannot pass stool.
- Your child looks ill; they are sweating and looking pale.
- They do not want to eat or drink anything.
- You can see skin rashes.
- The belly feels hard.
- You can see that your child is having difficulty breathing.
- There is a fever of more than 38 degrees C.
There could be several reasons why your child experiences abdominal pain. For the most part, the causes will be mild. If this is the case, you can treat stomachache in children using natural home remedies. However, if you suspect a more serious problem, it is best to consult a doctor.
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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.