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Chronic Abdominal Pain in Children


Children aged 4 to 17 may have chronic abdominal pain. The pain occurs in your child's abdomen at least 3 times in 3 months.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


  • Antacids decrease stomach acid that may be causing your child's pain.
  • Antibiotics help prevent or treat a bacterial infection.
  • Antidiarrheal medicine is given to decrease diarrhea.
  • Antinausea medicine may be given to calm your child's stomach and control vomiting.
  • Antidepressants may be given to help decrease your child's anxiety or to help relax his upper abdomen.


  • Ultrasound, x-ray, CT, or MRI pictures may be used to check the organs inside your child's abdomen. Healthcare providers use these pictures to look for problems such as blocked intestines. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his body.
  • A colonoscopy is a test that is done to look at your child's colon. A tube with a light on the end will be put into your child's anus. The tube is then moved up into his colon for healthcare providers to see if there are any problems.
  • An endoscopy uses a scope to see the inside of your child's digestive tract. A scope is a long, bendable tube with a light on the end. A camera may be hooked to the scope so the healthcare provider can take pictures. During an endoscopy, healthcare providers may find problems with how your child's digestive tract is working. Samples may be taken from your child's digestive tract and sent to a lab for tests.
  • A bowel movement and urine sample may be collected and sent to a lab for tests. The test may show which germ is causing your child's illness.
  • A pregnancy test may be done for your daughter if she has started having periods.


  • Cognitive behavioral therapy can help your child learn to cope with stress. Your child will learn how to decrease or cope with his pain if it happens when he is scared or worried.
  • Surgery is rarely needed, but may be done if there is something wrong with your child's abdomen. This could be because an organ in your child's abdomen is out of place, or not working correctly. A blocked intestine is an example of why your child may need surgery.


Even with treatment, your child may have chronic abdominal pain as an adult.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.