Abdominal Pain in Children
Most cases of abdominal pain in children are caused by minor problems, such as stomach flu or constipation, and home treatment usually is all that is needed to relieve them.
The most common causes of abdominal pain in preschool- and school-age children include:
- Reference Stomach flu (gastroenteritis) Opens New Window, which can be caused by infection with certain types of bacteria or viruses or by some poisons.
- Injury to the abdomen, such as from a fall or a blow to the stomach.
- Reference Appendicitis Opens New Window. Appendicitis is more common in children older than age 5 than in babies and toddlers.
- Pain related to normal bowel activity (peristalsis).
Less common causes of abdominal pain in preschool- and school-age children include:
- Reference Bladder infections (urinary tract infections) Opens New Window, which are usually caused by bacteria in the bladder.
- Reference Inguinal hernia Opens New Window, which may be present at birth or develop because of surgery or violent or chronic coughing.
- Reference Strep throat Opens New Window, which is caused by a bacterial infection.
Rare causes of abdominal pain in this age group include:
- Reference Cystic fibrosis Opens New Window, which may interfere with the way nutrients are absorbed from the digestive tract.
- Reference Kidney stones Opens New Window, which can cause severe pain as they break loose and travel to the bladder or out of the body.
- Reference Pancreatitis Opens New Window, which can cause severe pain in the upper part of the abdomen.
- Reference Peptic ulcer disease Opens New Window, which are crater-shaped sores that develop when the digestive juices produced by the stomach eat away or erode the lining of the digestive tract.
- Sexual abuse.
- Reference Sickle cell disease Opens New Window, which causes pain when blood flow to the organs in the abdomen is blocked.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: January 13, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Reference H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine