….In kids under 8. I’m going to focus on this age group because once girls enter the prepubescent phase; a whole new crop of issues can come up related to the reproductive system. So, let’s stick with younger children. I’m curious to know if this list surprises you.
1. Constipation. Shocked? Ask any pediatrician and this will likely be their response. Your child is full of poop. Pain associated with constipation can be excruciating, particularly when gas gets trapped. Children can have diarrhea and still be constipated. What happens in this instance is some liquefied stool leaks around the obstruction. A child can even have what appears to be normal bowel movements—and still be constipated.
2. Urinary Tract Infection. Girls are more prone to urinary tract infection than boys and this can present as lower type abdominal pain.
3. Strep Throat. A cluster of symptoms associated with strep throat are headache, sore throat, fever, abdominal pain and vomiting. So, don’t be surprised if your PCP tests for strep, particularly if the child has some of these other symptoms.
4. Stress. The stomach is highly innervated—meaning it has a lot of nerves. Stress, anxiety, and psychological issues can present as abdominal pain. It doesn’t mean your child doesn’t have pain; there just may not be a physical cause we can find.
5. Gastroenteritis. The “stomach flu”. These bugs can cause abdominal pain/cramping.
Are you surprised by what doesn’t lead this list? Appendicitis—sure, it happens but very rarely compared to these other diagnosis and is more common in older children. Obstruction? Again, a more rare diagnosis.
Does this list surprise you in any way?
Jordyn Redwood has served the pediatric population and their families for many years. She has five years of experience in the pediatric ICU and ten years of pediatric ER nursing which is the area she currently works. Jordyn also teaches CPR and advanced resuscitation courses.
Disclaimer: Remember, these posts are for education and discussion. If your child is sick and you think they require medical attention, take them to their pediatrician or local emergency department.