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Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
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Stomachache - Brief Version

For an illustration of the gastrointestinal tract, click here

What is a stomachache?

When your child says that his stomach hurts, there could be many causes. It might be caused by:

  • Eating too much.
  • Gas pains from drinking too much soda pop.
  • Other kinds of indigestion.

Most of the time, this kind of stomachache gets better in a few hours. If the flu causes your child's stomachache, your child may also have vomiting or diarrhea.

If something more serious than flu is causing the stomachache, the pain gets worse and doesn't go away.

How can I take care of my child?

  • Have your child lie down and rest until he feels better.
  • Put a warm washcloth or heating pad on his stomach for 20 minutes.
  • Give your child only sips of clear fluids. Do not give solid foods.
  • Keep a pan or bowl handy for vomiting.
  • Have your child sit on the toilet. It may help to have a bowel movement (BM).

Do not give medicine for stomach cramps unless you have talked with your doctor. Stay away from laxatives, painkillers, and enemas.

Call your child's doctor right away if:

  • The pain is severe AND lasts more than 1 hour.
  • The pain is does not go away AND has lasted more than 2 hours.
  • The pain comes and goes (cramps) AND lasts more than 24 hours.
  • The pain is in the scrotum or testicle.
  • Your child starts acting very sick.

Call your child's doctor during office hours if:

  • Your child's stomachache keeps coming back.
  • You have other questions or concerns.

Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.

Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems

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