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Everyday Health: Mom, My Tummy Hurts. Common Digestive Issues in Kids

By Stacy Kish & Linda Thrasybule

Stomachaches, though common in children, are rarely life threatening or dangerous, but how do you know when tummy troubles signal something serious? From acute abdominal pain that comes on suddenly to chronic gastrointestinal issues, here’s how to know when to seek medical attention. 

When Stomachaches Interfere With Life

Frequent stomachaches could indicate that something in the digestive system needs medical attention. Keep in mind that children might say that their stomach hurts when the pain could actually be in any part of the digestive system.

If your child’s bellyaches start to interfere with daily life — disrupting school attendance or social events like birthdays or soccer games — they may be worth a trip to the doctor’s office. “It doesn’t necessarily signal disease, but it does signal that they need to seek medical care," says Craig Friesen, MD, the division director of gastroenterology and the medical director of the abdominal pain program at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine.

With very young kids, who aren’t yet able to fully communicate what’s going on, your doctor may take a different approach. A little girl may say her tummy hurts, but what she's really saying is that she's having a bowel movement and needs to use the toilet. “Most of what I do with toddlers is tell them to go to the bathroom and, if it still hurts, to go play,” Dr. Friesen says. “If they don’t do either, then the child needs to be evaluated.”


Read the full article via Everyday Health

Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at Children's Mercy

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