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Abdominal Pain In Children


Abdominal (belly) pain may be caused by a virus or bacteria (germs). Overeating, gas pains, or food poisoning may cause abdominal pain. Other causes may be constipation or diarrhea. Your child may have abdominal pain because of an injury or other serious health problem, such as appendicitis. The cause of your child's abdominal pain also may be unknown.


Ways to care for your child:

  • Take your child's temperature every 4 hours.

  • Have your child rest until he feels better.

  • Ask when your child can eat solid foods. You may be told not to feed your child solid foods for 24 hours.

  • Give your child an oral rehydration solution (ORS). ORS is liquid that contains water, salts, and sugar. ORS can be given to replace lost body fluids when your child is mildly dehydrated (loss of body fluids). This may occur if your child is vomiting or has diarrhea. Give your child small sips of ORS. Ask what kind of ORS to use, how much to give your child, and where to get it.


  • Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not helping or if your child has side effects. Tell your child's healthcare provider if your child takes any vitamins, herbs, or other medicines. Keep a list of the medicines he takes. Include the amounts, and when and why he takes them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits.

  • Do not give aspirin to children younger than 18 years of age: Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin when he is sick. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child cannot stop vomiting.

  • You have questions about your child's condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your child's belly pain does not get better within 8 hours.

  • Your child vomits blood, or you see blood in your child's bowel movement.

  • Your child is bent over and holding his belly because of the pain. Your child may not be able to walk on his own.

  • Your male child's pain moves into his genital area (penis and scrotum).

  • Your child's belly becomes swollen or tender to the touch.

  • Your child has trouble urinating.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.