Stomach aches are common in children. Whether it’s from indigestion, constipation, or even a viral infection, most stomach aches in kids are not serious and symptoms will usually resolve on their own.
- Make your child lie face down and let them rest until their stomach pain resolves.
- Apply a warm compress or heating pad on their stomach.
- If the stomach ache is caused by spicy food, try giving them vanilla ice cream.
- If the stomach ache is caused by constipation, try giving them yogurt.
- Give them sips of warm water to drink.
- Avoid carbonated, caffeinated, fatty, or sweetened liquids, such as sodas, tea, coffee, milk, and sports drinks.
- If your child asks for a soft drink, choose one without caffeine. Shake the fizz out before serving.
- Initially, put your child on a liquid diet. Offer them clear fluids, such as water, fruit juices mixed with water, ginger ale, or a simple broth.
- As pain starts to go away, you can introduce bland foods to your child’s diet, such as plain bread, dry toast, rice, banana, and saltine crackers.
- Encourage them to go to the bathroom for bowel movements.
- Fennel seed and simethicone drops may be available over-the-counter. You can try giving your child these drops in a recommended dose.
- Do not give your child pain medications without asking your child’s pediatrician first.
If your child often suffers from indigestion and stomach pain frequently, they may have intolerance or allergy to certain foods. Keeping a food diary can help you determine which foods may be triggering your child’s stomach aches.
When to see a doctor for your child’s stomach ache
As you try these home treatments for your child, you should also monitor them to see whether they are helping.
Mild stomach aches will usually go away pretty quickly, but be careful not to ignore other serious symptoms that may accompany stomach pain. Contact your child’s doctor right away in the cases of:
- Severe stomach pain. If your child keeps crying and cannot be distracted by anything, their pain may be severe.
- Abdominal pain that continues after 24 hours.
- Abdominal tenderness (pain on the abdomen when you press it).
- Bloody stools. This can be a sign of a serious infection or an intestinal disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
- Diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 hours.
- Vomiting for longer than 24 hours.
- Bloody vomit.
- Green vomit. If your child has an allergy to some food, their vomiting may appear green. This is a sign of anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction. Dial 911 and get medical help.
- Abdominal pain in the right lower side of the belly. This can be a sign of appendicitis.
- Fever and a bad cough. These symptoms may indicate pneumonia.
- Painful urination. Your child may have a urinary tract infection (UTI).
- High fever or excessive sleepiness (or drowsiness). Stomach ache with any of these signs may point out to a serious infection that has led to low blood pressure or blood loss.
- Groin pain (if your child is a boy). This may be caused by testicular torsion, which is the twisting of testes that results in loss of blood supply to the testes.
- New rashes.