Childhood abdominal pain is an uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating condition that may indicate the presence of an underlying medical problem. The pain may be acute, occurring suddenly and lasting a week or less, or it may be chronic, lasting for long periods of time or on a chronic basis. There are a variety of problems that may cause abdominal pain in children, and treatment typically varies accordingly.
Did you know…
that abdominal pain is responsible for nearly 1 in 20 pediatric visits? School age children often complain of abdominal pain. While many of those patients are successfully treated by a primary care provider, some are referred to pediatric gastroenterologists for further testing and treatment. Acute and chronic abdominal pain is responsible for approximately 1 in 3 visits to a pediatric GI specialist.
A child may have abdominal pain due to many conditions. Some of these conditions include but are not limited to ; constipation, reflux, food allergies/intolerances, celiac disease, ulcers, gallbladder disease, appendicitis, crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and even stress.
The symptoms that co-occur with abdominal pain can be a primary indicator of the condition responsible for a child’s digestive discomfort. For example, some children may experience fever, bloody stools, diarrhea, and even weight loss. These types of symptoms may indicate the presence of a particular disease and provide clues for diagnosis and treatment.
There are treatments available for abdominal pain once a thorough examination is completed. This may involve imaging, lab work, medications or dietary modifications. A child’s primary care physician will determine if a Pediatric Gastroenterology consultation is warranted.