Stomach pain is an exceedingly common medical complaint among young children. Because of the overly common nature of this complaint, identifying the cause of and dealing with stomach pain often proves challenging. Depending upon the nature and severity of your child’s stomach pains, the cause could range from something serious to something that is completely in his head.
Common Causes of Stomach Pain
The cause of stomach pain is hard to diagnose, as this symptom can be the result of an array of medical conditions. As AskDrSears reports, many common childhood ailments result in stomach pain. These ailments include constipation, sore muscles, general stomach upset, gas, intestinal illness and food poisoning.
Benign Stomach Ache of Childhood
In many cases, stomach pain has no physical cause at all. As KidsGrowth reports, 95 percent of reports of stomach pain in children are found to have no medical cause. This phenomenon is so common that it has its own name: “benign stomach ache of childhood.” Doctors believe that some of these reported cases of pain can be attributed to general growing pains, while some are the result of psychological upset.
Emotional Connection to Stomach Pain
Some children experience stomach pain as a result of an emotional stress or upset. While doctors do generally agree that emotional factors can be at play when children experience stomach pain, they do not know for certain why the brain can have such an impact on the stomach. As KidsGrowth reports, researchers in the field hypothesize that the brain-stomach connection could be due to the fact that the muscles in the stomach are nerve-rich and, as a result, are prone to emotion-induced irritation.
Warning Signs of Appendicitis
While most causes of stomach pain are not serious in nature, appendicitis is a potentially deadly condition that requires immediate medical attention. Fortunately, symptoms of appendicitis are generally quite distinct, making this condition easy to diagnose. Children who have an inflamed appendix, the first step in an appendicitis, generally report a mild discomfort in the center of their stomach, around the bellybutton. This pain then migrates to the lower right side and intensifies. Commonly, this pain is accompanied by fever and vomiting. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, you should seek immediate medical attention, as an appendix rupture is potentially deadly.
What to Do
Stomach discomfort unaccompanied by any other symptoms is rarely cause for concern, AskDrSears reports. Unless your child’s stomach discomfort is so severe that he appears paralyzed in pain or the pain is accompanied by other symptoms, including fever or nausea, giving your kid some TLC should be sufficient. If your child continues to complain of stomach pain for several days, make a general doctors appointment to have the situation checked out.