How to manage tummy ache in children?
Tummy ache is a pain in the belly region.
For Adults, you can read this post What to do if you have a tummy ache?
Children get tummy ache all the time. Mostly it is not caused by a dangerous medical problem. But sometimes it can be serious.
Tummy ache can be of different types depending on their location, feel and distribution. It may be generalized pain if it’s all over your tummy. It’s mainly due to gas or at most stomach virus. But it can also be due to blockage in your gut.
It may be localized to one area of your belly, which tells the problem is in one particular organ. The problem could be in the appendix, gall bladder or stomach. It could be due to twisted bowel, ovary or testicles or maybe a stomach ulcer.
Pain can feel crampy or colicky in nature. Pain due to gas/bloating feels crampy and colicky pain is mostly due to stones in your kidney or gallbladder. Remember Colicky pain comes and goes in waves.
Since toddlers can’t describe their pain to you, it’s important to observe them and see if they are in any kind of discomfort or not. Suspect tummy aches in your child if your child is more restless than usual, whether drawing their legs towards his/her belly and poorly feeding.
It’s not easy to understand what your baby is going through for obvious reasons.
As I said earlier mostly tummy ache is not serious but when it’s serious your child may need urgent medical attention. Not so serious tummy ache can be due to constipation, gas, heartburn or acid reflux, air swallowing or maybe pain caused by anxiety or stress.
Tummy ache can be due to some serious medical condition if it stays for more than 24 hours. It could be due to accidental poisoning, appendicitis, stones in the gallbladder, bowel twisting, blockage in gut, inflammation of the gut, intestine being pulled inward into itself (intussusception), sickle cell disease crisis, ulcers in the stomach, may have swallowed foreign body, especially coins or other solid objects, twisting of the ovary or testicle, tumour or cancer, or urinary tract infection.
What can you do at home for tummy ache in children?
Mostly home care works and relieves the pain. You can have your child lie quietly to see if tummy ache goes away. Make your child drink a sip of water. You can ask your child to pass stool and see if ache goes away.
Don’t give your child oily/fried food. Give something light like rice (khichdi) or crackers. Don’t give your child caffeine-containing products. Avoid dairy products till ache goes away.
Do not give pain killers to your child like aspirin, ibuprofen without asking your doctor.
What preventive measures you should take at home?
Don’t let your child play with things they can swallow. Keep poisonous substances like disinfectants far away from the reach of your child. Follow child safety measures.
While tummy ache mostly can be managed at home but in some situation you have to call emergency medical services of your area.
Take emergency medical help if your baby is suffering from vomiting, diarrhoea and is younger than 3 months, or being treated for cancer. Take your child to an emergency if you see blood in the stool.
If your child has sharp tummy ache which comes suddenly with rigid, hard belly or has trouble breathing, take your child to the emergency to your nearest hospital.
Even if your child has mild pain but it stays for more than 3-4 days, recurring, associated with fever or blood in stools, then you should consult your doctor at the earliest.