Abdominal pain is discomfort anywhere on the torso from midchest down to the pubic bone. Abdominal pain is very common in children and is not always a sign of an underlying condition or a sign of a serious illness.
One of the most common causes of abdominal pain in children is constipation. Constipation is when your child has less than three stools a week, or their bowel movements are hard, painful, or difficult to pass. Children are highly likely to have constipation when they are potty training or as their diet changes.
Abdominal pain accounts for nearly 10% of all pediatric visits. In most cases, abdominal pain subsides on its own without intervention and is nothing serious. Abdominal pain can be a sign of severe health concerns, however.
Constipation is typically due to changes in diet or routine, or because your child is learning to hold their stool as they begin toilet training. Other underlying causes of constipation and abdominal pain include bowel obstruction, twisted bowel, or dairy intolerance.
Aside from constipation, other causes for abdominal pain include:
Adolescent girls with abdominal pain may have menstrual discomfort, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease. The Children's Clinic team asks questions related to associated symptoms, severity, onset, medical history, family history, and more to determine the best diagnosis and treatment.
When your child is constipated, you should see a pediatric specialist if they have severe abdominal pain with bowel movements, bloody stools, hemorrhoids, or prolonged constipation lasting more than a couple of weeks.
You need to see a provider about your child's abdominal pain if they have:
The Children's Clinic offers after-hours care, telemedicine, and sick visits for when your child has severe constipation or abdominal pain with these concerning symptoms.
For comprehensive care and treatment of your child's constipation and abdominal pain, call or request an appointment online with the Children's Clinic today.