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Stomach pain in kids: When to worry

A pediatric gi doctor explains common causes of stomach pain in children, remedies to help and when to call the doctor.

Reasons your child could be experiencing stomach pain.

As many parents know, children and stomach aches seem to go hand in hand. Stomach pain in kids can be caused by a variety of common reasons such as eating too much, needing to go to the bathroom, or anxiety or worry about an upcoming event. However, if your child complains of stomach pain frequently, it can be difficult to know the best ways to help and when to call the doctor.

Megha S. Mehta, M.D. , a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children's Health℠ and Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern, explains when parents should worry about stomach pain and when a little rest and hydration is all your child may need.

What can cause stomach pain in a child?

The most common causes of stomach pain in children include:

Additional stomach pain symptoms can vary based on what's causing your child's stomach to hurt, but may include cramping, diarrhea, gas, bloating, nausea or vomiting. One of the most important symptoms to note is where your child is feeling pain in their stomach.

"One of the first questions we ask children is where their stomach hurts," explains Dr. Mehta. "Location of the pain can help physicians determine what is causing the pain, in addition to other characteristics such as severity of pain, when it occurs, what makes it better or worse and accompanying symptoms."

Stomach pain around the belly button

Stomach pain around or near a child's belly button is usually nothing to worry about. It's one of the most common stomach pain complaints among kids.

"Children often rub their bellies when they hurt and complain about general pain around the belly button," says Dr. Mehta. "This type of stomach pain is typically caused by stress or eating something that didn't quite agree with them."

If your child is complaining about stomach pain near the belly button, you can:

Stomach pain in the lower right part of the abdomen

Appendicitis is a serious medical emergency that can cause sudden, severe pain in the lower right part of your child's stomach. If your child complains of stomach pain that moves to the lower right side of the belly, watch for other symptoms of appendicitis including:

You should contact your child's pediatrician immediately if you suspect your child has appendicitis. Early diagnosis decreases risk of a ruptured appendix or serious complications.

Stomach pain on the left side of the abdomen

If your child is complaining about pain on the left side of their stomach, it could be caused by something as simple as constipation to a more severe condition like pancreatitis . Dr. Mehta reminds parents not to panic just because their child is experiencing pain.

"Most of the time, stomach pain on the left side is caused by something mild, like constipation. Rarely, it can be a sign of something more serious," she says. "Your child's pediatrician can work with you to better understand the pain and symptoms your child experiences to ensure they receive an accurate diagnosis – and more importantly, find relief."

Stomach pain in the upper abdomen

If your child is complaining about pain in their upper abdomen, they may be experiencing indigestion. Telltale signs of indigestion include:

"Indigestion may be the cause, if your child complains about pain in their upper belly, especially if it happens after eating certain foods," says Dr. Mehta.

If your child has pain in the upper right side of their abdomen, this could also be a sign of gallstones . Gallstones are more common in adults than in children, but some children may be more at risk for developing gallstones including children with obesity, children with certain health conditions including sickle cell disease, and children with a family history of gallstone disease.

What can I give my child for stomach pain?

little girl holding tummy

There's no specific treatment for an upset stomach, but you can help relieve your child's symptoms. Trusted home remedies for stomach pain in kids include:

When should I take my child to the doctor for stomach pain?

Stomach pain in children is usually nothing to worry about. But, if your child experiences any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with your child's pediatrician to determine the cause of your child's pain:

Your child's pediatrician can help you determine if you need to seek immediate medical attention.

When to go to the ER for stomach pain in kids

If your child experiences any of the following symptoms with stomach pain, call 911 immediately or take your child to the emergency room (ER):

When kids have stomach aches, it can be hard to pinpoint a cause or if you should be concerned. A #pediatric GI expert from @Childrens addresses when to call the doctor. Click to Tweet

The Children's Health Pediatric Gastroenterology program offers specialized, compassionate care to help treat, manage and improve your child's digestive health. Our team offers minimally invasive diagnostic techniques and the latest advances in care to help your child and family feel their best. When stomach pain in kids becomes a chronic issue, our Chronic Abdominal Pain Clinic offers help and hope.

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Abdominal pain in children

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Causes of abdominal pain in children, diagnosis of abdominal pain in children, treatment for abdominal pain in children, taking care of your child with abdominal pain, when to seek urgent medical help for abdominal pain in children, where to get help.

Children often complain of stomach pain. It is one of the most common reasons parents take children to their doctor or the hospital emergency department. Stomach pain can be hard to diagnose. The doctor will ask you questions then examine your child. Sometimes a problem may be quite obvious, so no tests are needed.

Many children with stomach pain get better in hours or days without special treatment and often no cause can be found. Sometimes the cause becomes more obvious with time and treatment can be started. If pain or other problems persist, see your doctor.

There are many health problems that can cause stomach pain for children, including:

Repeat attacks of stomach pain

Some children suffer repeat attacks of stomach pain, which can be worrying for parents. Often, no health problem can be found. Children may feel stomach pain when they are worried about themselves or people around them. Think about whether there is anything that is upsetting your child at home, school or kindergarten, or with friends. See your local doctor for advice. A referral may be needed to a paediatrician (a doctor who specialises in children).

Appendicitis explained

Appendicitis is one of the more common reasons your child may need surgery. The appendix is a small, dead-end tube leading from a part of the bowel. If this tube gets blocked, it can cause an infection. Appendicitis can happen at any age, but is rare in young children.

The pain often starts in the middle of the tummy and moves down low on the right side. The tummy becomes sore to touch. This is often worse with coughing and walking around. A child with appendicitis often shows signs of being unwell such as fever, refusing food, vomiting or (sometimes) diarrhoea.

If you are concerned your child may be developing appendicitis, visit your local doctor or go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital. An operation is often needed to remove the appendix, although in some cases the problem will settle without surgery.

When a problem is quite obvious, no tests are needed. If tests are needed, they may include:

If your child does undergo tests, the doctor should explain the results to you. Some results may take a number of days to come back and these results will be sent to your local doctor.

Your child’s treatment will depend on what the doctor thinks is causing their pain. Treatment may be as simple as sending your child home with advice to rest, take fluids and eat a bland diet. Other treatment options include hospital admission and surgery.

General suggestions on easing the pain include:

Go to your local doctor or the emergency department of your nearest hospital straight away if your child has:

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The type of pain felt in the abdomen can vary greatly.

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Allergy occurs when the body overreacts to a 'trigger' that is harmless to most people.

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that requires urgent medical attention.

Parents and children talk about some of the factors that can cause a child's asthma to flare up.

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Stomach Pain in Kids and Teens

Learn the common causes and home remedies for stomach pain.

Child with stomachache holding his belly.

“My stomach hurts.” If you have children, chances are you’ve heard this before.

Stomach pain is one of the most common complaints among children and teens. It can range from mild discomfort to severe cramping, burning or nausea. While most cases aren’t serious, it’s helpful to know what can cause stomach pain and when to call a doctor.

Here are some of the most frequent causes of stomach problems in small children and teens:

Gas pain or indigestion is common in kids of all ages. Diet often plays a role. Carbonated drinks, such as soda may upset the stomach, especially if the child drinks through a straw. Spicy foods, beans, citrus and caffeine (including chocolate) may cause gas.


Younger kids may not know what constipation is or that it can lead to stomach pain. If your child complains of stomach pain around the belly button or the left lower side of the abdomen, ask them when they last pooped, or if they’re having problems doing it.

Too much of anything, from pizza and popcorn to Halloween candy, can cause abdominal pain. Kids often eat quickly and don’t realize they’re full until they’ve overdone it. Plus, eating too quickly can contribute to discomfort.

Lactose intolerance

Lactose is a type of sugar found in milk and milk products. “In order to digest lactose properly, the body produces an enzyme called lactase,” explains Sangita Bhasin, MD , a pediatrician at Scripps Coastal Medical Center Encinitas. “People who do not have this enzyme have a condition called lactose intolerance. When they consume milk products, they may have symptoms such as abdominal cramps, gas, diarrhea or constipation.”

Milk allergy

Milk allergy is a reaction to a protein in milk that may cause cramps. It is not the same as lactose intolerance.

When kids feel stressed or worried, they may feel abdominal pain. “Stomach aches that appear to have no apparent cause may be due to stress, especially if the pain is recurrent. But all the child knows is that their stomach hurts,” says Dr. Bhasin. “When this happens, gently ask the child if they’re worried about something and want to talk about it. There could be problems at school or with friends.”

Stomach virus

Bacterial or viral infections can affect the stomach and may be spread between students at school or in common areas. Stomach pain is often the first symptom, usually followed within 24 hours by vomiting and diarrhea.


If your child complains of severe, constant pain in the low right side of the abdomen and even slight movement is painful, appendicitis may be to blame. Appendicitis is more common in older children and teens; it is unusual in children under age 5.

When to call the pediatrician

Most causes of stomach pain don’t require medical care, but do call your child’s doctor right away if any of the following occur:

“It’s always better to err on the side of caution,” says Dr. Bhasin. “If you’re concerned about your child’s stomach pain, call the doctor.”

Home treatment for tummy aches

Most stomach aches won’t last more than an hour or two, and often you can help your child feel better by trying these tips:

Finally, if stomach aches are a frequent problem, talk with your pediatrician. You may be able to work together to identify the cause and make changes to help your child feel better.

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9 All-Natural Tummy Ache Remedies

Stomach aches are common in kids—especially in those ages 4 to 8 years old—and the main causes are typically diet, stress, and growing pains. the next time your kid complains of an upset tummy, consider these nine natural home remedies., sip chamomile tea.

Give your child a cup of chamomile tea (one cup of water per teabag), suggests Andrew Weil, M.D., a leader in the field of integrative medicine, whose books include Spontaneous Healing . "Chamomile tea is an excellent home remedy for uncomplicated stomach upsets because it possesses...anti-inflammatory and sedative properties, all of which may contribute to a lessening of abdominal discomfort," says Dr. Weil. Chamomile relaxes the muscle of the upper digestive tract, easing the contractions that move food through the stomach and small intestines; this will relieve spasms and tummy cramps.

Drink Ginger

It's okay to give your child soda when their stomach is hurting, as long as the soda is ginger ale, but fresh ginger tea is even better because it's chock-full of ginger (and it's healthier). Ginger's main ingredient is gingerol, a strong antioxidant that helps decrease the production of free radicals and their potential damage to the body; it also decreases nausea and discomfort. Plus, ginger's anti-inflammatory properties increase digestive juices and neutralize stomach acids.

Reach for Peppermint

Peppermint tea is also refreshing and can ease the pain of a tummy ache. "Peppermint has been shown to have a calming effect on the stomach muscles," says William Sears, M.D. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, peppermint has the ability to improve the flow of bile, which the body uses for digestion. If your child refuses to drink tea, a peppermint candy, while not as potent, may settle their stomach (just don't give these candies to babies or young children, as they can be choking hazards ).

Placing a hot water bottle or heating pad on your little one's tummy while they're sitting or lying down should relieve some of the pain, says Robyn Strosaker, M.D., a pediatrician at the Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital in Cleveland. The reason: "Heat increases the blood flow to the skin surface, which can diminish the perception of pain coming from deeper in the abdomen," she explains.

Rub the Foot, Using Reflexology

"There are thousands of nerves in the feet and hands that, when specific techniques are applied, can cause the entire body to relax and feel calmer," says Laura Norman, a reflexology practitioner and author of Feet First: A Guide to Food Reflexology . The tummy region corresponds with the center arch of the left foot. Using a reflexology technique, hold your child's left foot with the palm of your right hand, and with your left hand under the ball of the foot, apply a steady, even pressure with your thumb.

Use a forward, caterpillar-like motion (press one spot, move a little forward, and repeat) to go across the foot. Switch hands and repeat from right to left, with the thumb of your right hand, and continue until you cover the center of the arch. "The child will respond positively to their mom's loving touch, the parent feels wonderful for being able to help their child, and the parent-child connection is strengthened," Norman adds.

Serve Bland Foods

If your child still has an appetite despite the tummy ache, let them eat small amounts of plain foods, like toast, pasta, oatmeal, yogurt, rice, and applesauce. Avoid sauces, condiments, or seasonings. "Bland foods are less irritating to the stomach and more easily digested than spicy or greasy foods," says Dr. Strosaker. "These foods are not only less likely to induce vomiting, but they will help the gastrointestinal (GI) tract return to normal function more quickly."

Snack on Yogurt

Yogurt is effective for basic tummy cramps, and it's a popular healing food for diarrhea , Dr. Sears says. "Normally, 'good' bacteria live in your intestines that help with digestion," he explains. "If you have an intestinal virus or diarrhea, good bacteria can get flushed out, which can prolong the duration of the symptoms." Eating yogurt with live cultures (or mixing it with a powdered supplement like Culturelle) provides the active bacteria that can help get digestion back to normal.

Follow the CRAP Diet

Is your child's tummy hurting because of constipation? Michael Roizen, M.D., co-author of YOU: Raising Your Child , along with his colleagues Ellen Rome, M.D., and Mehmet Oz, M.D., came up with an easy (and memorable!) acronym to remember how to help your kid. "Appropriately named the CRAP diet, it stands for fruits with fiber that can act to naturally 'loosen things up': c herries, r aisins, a pricots, and p runes," says Dr. Roizen. If your school-age child is getting less than five servings of fruit a day, give them a half cup of any of these fruits, three to five times a day. "For kids under four, it's smart to puree these foods to decrease the risk of choking," he adds. Toddlers should be eating a half cup.

Encourage Outdoor Activities

If your child is suffering from constipation , Dr. Roizen says it's the perfect time to hit the playground. "Physical activity can aid movement through the GI tract, whereas lying in bed can actually induce constipation," he explains. "And while this treatment is less scientific-mechanism-based than others, it works!" Acceptable activities include walking, moderate running, playing outside, or playing an "active" video game. Advise your child to hold off on the more "tummy turning" activities, such as twirling, hanging on the monkey bars, and doing cartwheels.

Know When to Seek Help

Natural remedies for stomach aches can work wonders, but it's necessary to know when to call the doctor. Deb Lonzer, M.D., chair of the department of regional pediatrics for the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, says that pain around the belly button is often the least concern. "Loss of appetite is more serious and would concern me after a few days," she adds. "Constipation should be addressed within a week if a change in diet is not helping." As a general rule, if your child is vomiting, has a fever, has blood in their stool, is not thriving, or looks worn-out all the time, it's best to take them to the pediatrician .

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Abdominal Pain in Children Treatment

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Call your child’s doctor immediately if your child has any of the following:

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Abdominal Pain in Children: Care Instructions

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Abdominal (belly) pain has many possible causes. Some are not serious and get better on their own in a few days. Others need more testing and treatment. If your child's belly pain continues or gets worse, your child may need more tests to find out what is wrong.

Most cases of belly pain in children are caused by minor problems, such as stomach flu infection or constipation. Home treatment often is all that is needed to relieve them.

Your doctor may have recommended a follow-up visit in the next 8 to 12 hours. Do not ignore new symptoms, such as fever, nausea and vomiting, urination problems, or pain that gets worse. These may be signs of a more serious problem. If your child has belly pain and is very young or uses a different way to communicate (besides talking), they may show different signs such as:

The doctor has checked your child carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away .

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line ( 811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

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how to stop stomach pain for 9 year old

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Abdominal pain - children under age 12

Almost all children have abdominal pain at one time or another. Abdominal pain is pain in the stomach or belly area. It can be anywhere between the chest and groin.

Most of the time, it is not caused by a serious medical problem. But sometimes abdominal pain can be a sign of something serious. Learn when you should seek medical care right away for your child with abdominal pain.


When your child complains of abdominal pain, see if they can describe it to you. Here are different kinds of pain:

If you have an infant or toddler, your child depends on you seeing that they are in pain. Suspect abdominal pain if your child is:

Your child could have abdominal pain for many reasons. It can be hard to know what is going on when your child has abdominal pain. Most of the time, there is nothing seriously wrong. But sometimes, it can be a sign that there is something serious and your child needs medical care.

Your child most likely is having abdominal pain from something that is not life threatening. For example, your child may have:

Your child may have something more serious if the pain does not get better in 24 hours, gets worse or gets more frequent. Abdominal pain can be a sign of:

Most of the time, you can use home care remedies and wait for your child to get better. If you are worried or your child's pain is getting worse, or the pain lasts longer than 24 hours, call your health care provider.

Have your child lie quietly to see if the abdominal pain goes away.

Offer sips of water or other clear fluids.

Suggest that your child try to pass stool.

Avoid solid foods for a few hours. Then try small amounts of mild foods such as rice, applesauce, or crackers.

Do not give your child foods or drinks that are irritating to the stomach. Avoid:

Do not give aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or similar medicines without first asking your child's provider.

To prevent many types of abdominal pain:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if the abdominal pain does not go away in 24 hours.

Seek medical help right away or call your local emergency number (such as 911) if your child:

Call your provider if your child has:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

Talk to the provider about the location of the pain and its time pattern. Let the provider know if there are other symptoms like fever, fatigue, general ill feeling, change in behavior, nausea, vomiting, or changes in stool.

Your provider may ask the questions about the abdominal pain:

During the physical examination, the provider will test to see if the pain is in a single area (point tenderness) or whether it is spread out.

They may do some tests to check on the cause of the pain. The tests may include:

Alternative Names

Stomach pain in children; Pain - abdomen - children; Abdominal cramps in children; Belly ache in children

Maqbool A, Liacouras CA. Major symptoms and signs of digestive tract disorders. In: Kliegman RM, St Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics . 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 332.

Miranda A. Abdominal pain. In: Kliegman RM, Lye PS, Bordini BJ, Toth H, Basel D, eds. Nelson Pediatric Symptom-Based Diagnosis . Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 10.

Seller Rh, Symons AB. Abdominal pain in children. In: Seller RH, Symons AB, eds. Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints . 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 2.

Smith KA. Abdominal pain. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice . 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 24.

Review Date 7/15/2021

Updated by: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Emeritus, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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Abdominal Pain in Children

What is abdominal pain.

Abdominal pain is discomfort or pain located anywhere between the chest and the pelvis. Every child will have an upset stomach at some point and most times, it’s nothing serious. Children with stomach pain typically return to overall good health and grow well.

Abdominal pain that continues and does not resolve with usual therapeutic treatments is functional abdominal pain .

For mild abdominal pain, you can typically wait for your child to get better with home care remedies. You should call your doctor if your child has:

In some cases, abdominal pain is the sign of something more serious. You should seek medical help immediately if your child:

Abdominal Pain in Children | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of abdominal pain.

Abdominal pain can be accompanied by symptoms like:

What causes abdominal pain in children?

The gastrointestinal tract is a complicated system of nerves and muscles that pushes food through the digestive process. Some children's nerves are very sensitive and feel pain in response to even normal intestinal activities.

The most likely cause of stomach pain is not eating enough, not going to the bathroom, or a combination of the two. In some cases, a specific problem such as constipation, heartburn, or a food allergy causes abdominal pain. In other cases, the cause may not be so clear.

An infection, stress, or lack of sleep may make the intestinal nerves more sensitive to pain. In some cases, the problem may be genetic, which means it "runs in the family" and other family members have a similar history of the problem.

Abdominal Pain in Children | Diagnosis & Treatments

How is abdominal pain diagnosed.

A clinician will take a history of the child’s abdominal pain, how and when it started, the location and type of pain, and how it has progressed over time. If the child has any allergies or a history of food intolerances, parents should let the clinical team know.

The child’s pediatrician may order tests of the child’s blood, urine, and stool to rule out specific conditions associated with abdominal pain. If the child's medical history, exam, or lab tests raise further questions, more in-depth tests, such as an x-ray or endoscopy , may be necessary.

How is abdominal pain in children treated?

Once they’ve diagnosed the source of the pain, the care team will create a treatment plan. Depending on the root cause, treatment may include dietary changes, medication, or behavioral approaches to address underlying anxiety or depression . With the right treatment, most children with abdominal pain continue to grow well and gain weight.

How we care for abdominal pain in children

Our Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition works with parents and children to relieve many kinds abdominal pain and provides access to more specialized gastroenterology services than any other hospital. If your child needs specialized care, our expertly trained team will work with your family and each other to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Abdominal Pain in Children | Programs & Services

Departments, gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition.

The Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition offers care for children with GI, liver, and nutritional problems.

Learn more about Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Functional Abdominal Pain Program

The Functional Abdominal Pain Program addresses chronic pain along with other related issues.

Learn more about Functional Abdominal Pain Program

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Abdominal pain

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Abdominal pain is pain or cramping anywhere in the abdomen (tummy, belly or stomach). Children often complain of abdominal pain. It is one of the most common reasons children see a doctor. Most cases of abdominal pain are not serious and children often get better by themselves.

Signs and symptoms of abdominal pain

Abdominal pain can happen suddenly or develop slowly. Children often have other symptoms that are associated with the cause of the abdominal pain, such as:

What causes abdominal pain?

There are many things that can cause abdominal pain.

The causes of abdominal pain can be hard to determine. Sometimes the cause becomes more obvious with time, and then doctors can work out the best treatment.

Care at home

Here are some general ways to ease your child’s pain:

When to see a doctor

Many children with abdominal pain get better quickly without any treatment and there is no need to see a doctor. If your child’s pain or problems persist for more than 24 hours, or you are worried about your child, take them to your GP.

Take your child to the GP or hospital as soon as possible if your child:

Treatment for abdominal pain

Treatment may be as simple as going home to rest, drink fluids and eat a bland diet. At other times, your child may be admitted to hospital or may need an operation (surgery).

Sometimes tests are needed to help work out the cause of the pain. These may include:

Some results can take a number of days. Your GP will receive a letter advising them how to obtain the test results, or a hospital appointment will be made for you to return to get the test results.

Repeated attacks of abdominal pain

Some children get repeated attacks of abdominal pain, which can be very worrying for parents. Often no health problem can be found. Children may have abdominal pain when they are worried about themselves or people around them.

Think about whether there is anything that is upsetting your child at home, at school, kindergarten or with friends. See your GP for advice. Your child may need a referral to a paediatrician, gastroenterologist (a doctor who specialises in stomach problems) or psychologist.

Key points to remember

For more information

Common questions our doctors are asked

How can I tell if my child has appendicitis? 

Appendicitis can be difficult for doctors to diagnose, but a sign that your child may have appendicitis is that they have severe pain starting around their belly button and moving to the right side of their abdomen. Most children with appendicitis will be very reluctant to move. See your GP if you are worried.

My child has been diagnosed with mesenteric adenitis. What does this mean?

Mesenteric adenitis occurs when the lymph nodes in the abdomen enlarge in response to an infection – most commonly a viral infection. This results in stomach pain. Mesenteric adenitis is diagnosed clinically (without the need for blood tests or imaging). It is important that children who are diagnosed with mesenteric adenitis are reviewed to determine if it is developing into appendicitis.

Why is it so difficult to work out the cause of my child's ongoing stomach aches? 

Stomach aches are difficult to diagnose in all ages. Children differ in their ability to describe the type, severity and location of their pain, which can make this process even harder. Many problems from the chest down to the groin may be interpreted by children as stomach aches, making it very difficult to find out the true cause. Your child's doctor will examine and investigate your child in order to rule out anything serious, while trying to find the underlying cause.

The doctor says my child has abdominal migraine. What is this?

As the name suggests, abdominal migraine is a migraine experienced in the abdomen instead of the head. A child with abdominal migraine will often have tummy pain along with nausea/vomiting, loss of appetite and pale skin. There is no headache involved and the child is well between episodes. There is still quite a lot that is unknown about abdominal migraine, but the risk factors and triggers are thought to be similar to traditional migraines (e.g. having a family member with migraines, being stressed or overtired, chemicals in food). See our fact sheet Migraine headache .

Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Emergency department. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers. 

Reviewed May 2018.  

This information is awaiting routine review. Please always seek the most recent advice from a registered and practising clinician.

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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.


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  1. Stomach pain in kids: When to worry

    Offering plenty of clear liquids to keep your child hydrated · Offering ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain · Using a heating pad to ease

  2. Abdominal pain in children

    Taking care of your child with abdominal pain · Make sure your child gets plenty of rest. · Help your child drink plenty of clear fluids such as cooled boiled

  3. Stomach Pain in Kids and Teens

    Home treatment for tummy aches · Have your child lie down and rest. · Place a warm compress or heating pad on their stomach. · Gently massage your

  4. 9 All-Natural Tummy Ache Remedies

    Stomach aches are common in kids—especially in those ages 4 to 8 years old—and the main causes are typically diet, stress, and growing pains.

  5. Treating Child Stomachache, Nausea, Upset Stomach

    Treating Symptoms of Your Child's Stomachache · Have the child lie down and rest. · Don't give the child fluids for about 2 hours after the last vomiting episode.

  6. First Aid Information for Abdominal Pain in Children

    Call 911 NOW if: · Provide clear fluids to sip, such as water, broth, or fruit juice diluted with water. · Serve bland foods, such as saltine crackers, plain

  7. Abdominal Pain in Children: Care Instructions

    Give your child sips of water or drinks such as Pedialyte or Gastrolyte. These drinks contain a mix of salt, sugar, and minerals. You can buy them at drugstores

  8. Abdominal pain

    Home Care · Avoid fatty or greasy foods. · Drink plenty of water each day. · Eat small meals more often. · Exercise regularly. · Limit foods that

  9. Abdominal Pain in Children

    The most likely cause of stomach pain is not eating enough, not going to the bathroom, or a combination of the two. In some cases, a specific problem such as

  10. Kids Health Information : Abdominal pain

    Many children with abdominal pain get better quickly without any treatment and there is no need to see a doctor. If your child's pain or problems persist for