Health

Don’t ignore children’s abdominal pain

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It’s not uncommon for children to complain of tummy aches. But how can a parent tell whether abdominal pain is a symptom of something simple or something much more serious?

“In children, abdominal pain can be caused by just not eating enough, or eating way too much, or it could be as much as not drinking enough fluids and playing all day, so causing some amount of dehydration,” said Dr. Shruti Bahadur, family medicine physician with Centegra Physician Care in Woodstock.

“On the other hand, abdominal pain can be a sign of more concerning and life-threatening conditions like appendicitis, gallstones, intussusception and volvulus,” Bahadur said.

Children may just not feel like themselves when they have abdominal pain, holding their tummies and not wanting to drink enough fluids or eat their favorite foods, Bahadur said, adding that some children might double over, crying in pain.

“Some kids may even just want to throw up once and then feel better,” she said.

“At home, when there’s abdominal pain, try to give kids a bland diet, more bread, applesauce,” said Bahadur, who also recommends giving children more liquids, such as water and Gatorade, especially in the summer. To relieve pain, Bahadur suggests giving Tylenol instead of ibuprofen.

“If the pain persists without a fever or lethargy, it’s OK to let the child skip a meal or two and see how it goes.

“However, you should call the doctor immediately if your child is rolling over in pain, cannot sit still or is throwing up constantly,” Bahadur said.

Call 815-206-2800 to make an appointment.

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