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:
- Stomach flu (gastroenteritis), which
can be caused by infection with certain types of bacteria or viruses or by some
- Injury to the abdomen, such as
from a fall or a blow to the stomach.
- Appendicitis. 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:
Rare causes of abdominal pain in this age group
- Cystic fibrosis, which may interfere
with the way nutrients are absorbed from the digestive tract.
- Kidney stones, which can cause severe pain as they
break loose and travel to the bladder or out of the body.
- Pancreatitis, which can cause severe pain in the upper
part of the abdomen.
- Peptic ulcer disease, 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.
- Sickle cell disease, which causes pain
when blood flow to the organs in the abdomen is blocked.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||January 13, 2011|