4 of the Most Common “Tummy Troubles” Kids Have
July 20, 2020
What Are Some of the Most Common GI Issues?
- Constipation: When children experience constipation, it’s usually because they aren’t getting enough fluid and/or fiber in their diet, says Dr. Parlow. Particularly with younger children, they may have had a painful bowel movement and are afraid to have another one, so they “hold it.” That makes their stool harder and more painful to move. It is not unusual for children to get constipated when they start school, because they may feel uncomfortable about using the bathroom in school, so they hold their stool in.
- Abdominal pain: A lot of different things can cause bellyaches or pain. “Most belly pain in kids is easily treated,” Dr. Parlow says. More serious causes usually have red flags such as losing weight, vomiting, blood in the stool or abdominal pain that keeps a child from sleeping or wakes them. Frequent causes of belly pain are gas and acid reflux, which are often related to diet. In such cases, blood and stool testing may be done to get a fuller picture of what’s going on, and there may be a period of eliminating certain items from the diet to check for food intolerance.
- Appendicitis: Inflammation of the appendix—a small pouch attached to the large intestine on the right side of the body—may start as vague abdominal pain around the belly button, then consolidate into severe cramping pain in the lower right side of the belly, says Victoriya Staab, M.D., pediatric surgeon at the Children’s Hospital.
- Intussusception: Another intestinal condition that requires urgent attention is intussusception, when part of the intestine folds on itself, causing a blockage. It is most often seen in children under 2 years old and sometimes happens after a virus causes lymph node swelling in the intestines or if there’s a structural abnormality, such as a polyp.
Next Steps & Resources:
- Meet our sources: Brittany Parlow, M.D., and Victoriya Staab, M.D.
- To make an appointment with a pediatric GI specialist near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
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