Top 7 Causes of Abdominal Pain in Children

Abdominal pain

in children is one of the most common causes of seeking the help of a physician. Most of the times the cause of the pain does not pose a life risk and can be well managed with urgent medical attention and care. However, there are some causes which can lead to a morbid situation.

In this article the most probable causes of tummy pain in children will be laid down which will help in identifying the symptoms better.

Top 7 causes of abdominal pain in children

Baby colic

1. Baby Colic

: It is found in almost 16-26% babies. It affects 10-20% infants during the first three to four weeks of life. However, the condition can last up to 12 months of age. Babies are found to scream and cry drawing their knees close to their chest. There are specific periods of crying which are mostly post taking a feed. There isn’t much which could be done except for pacifying the baby or burping him right. A gentle stomach massage also helps.

2. Gastroenteritis

: Gastroenteritis is also a prevalent cause of tummy pain in children. It essentially refers to a stomach infection which could be viral or bacterial in nature. Viruses such as rotavirus, adenovirus, Norwalk virus and enterovirus are some of the most common viruses found in children. The common bacterial strains to attack children are E.Coli, Campylobacter, Shigella and Salmonella. It can cause symptoms like diarrhea, fever with chills, acute pain, vomiting, which need urgent medical attention. Treatment with antibiotics is needed in case of bacterial infection. Viral infection needs management of symptoms and lasts for a few days.

Abdominal Pain in children

3. Parasites and Worms

: Intestinal parasites and worms more often than not attack the gastrointestinal tract. They prefer to lodge themselves on to the intestinal wall and derive nutrition from the host. These infections are very common in children. They can get in to the intestine through mouth from uncooked and raw food, unwashed and contaminated food, contaminated and unclean hands and water, skin contact with larva and eggs from infected soil. Stomach pain, constipation, nausea, vomiting, anemia, anorexia are some of the symptoms. Children need to be treated with deworming therapies to get rid of the parasites and worms.

4. Constipation

: Acute constipation is one of the most popular cause of stomach ache in children. It could be a chronic symptom of a serious condition like appendicitis, gastroenteritis or a congenital defect like Hirschsprung’s disease or bowel ischemia. Or it could be caused by a low-fiber diet. The symptoms would be pain in the abdomen, bloating, distended abdomen, lack of appetite, weight loss etc. Drinking adequate amounts of water and increasing the fiber intake can bring about an improvement in symptoms.

5. Intolerance to certain foods

: Lactose intolerance is very common in children. This condition is brought about by a basic hypersensitivity to the proteins found in milk. The condition generally improves as the child gets older. Food allergies can also cause stomach pain. Other symptoms could be vomiting, skin rash, shortness of breath and irritability. Eliminating the food causing the allergy is the best option. Normal or breast milk could be replaced with soy based formulas.

6. Abdominal trauma

: Trauma or injury to the abdomen can cause tummy pain. The injury is mostly caused by accident. It could be a penetrating or a blunt injury. Blunt trauma is seen more often. It could lead to a serious medical condition like bowel perforation, intramural hematoma, liver or spleen rupture etc. This needs emergency medical attention.

7. Appendicitis

: It is a surgical condition which is present with

abdominal pain

. When lymphoid tissue or fecalith blocks the lumen of the appendix, it becomes inflamed and infected. The pain is felt almost all over the abdomen in the beginning. As the condition progresses the pain gets localized in the right side of the abdomen. Surgical removal of the appendix followed by an antibiotic therapy is needed to treat the condition.

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