Stomach ache causes in Children
Stomach ache in children can grow severe in some cases based on the root cause for it. Around 25% of children experience frequent belly aches, and abdominal pain is a very frequent cause of pediatrician visits and school absences. Traditionally abdominal pain is divided into two categories: “organic” and “functional.” Organic means that some organ is involved or broken—there’s something abnormal you can see on a biopsy or blood test. “Functional” pain is an awkward term, but it means that the pain is arising not from tissue damage or pathology, but from the functioning of the gut. We can’t find anything objectively wrong, but there is still pain. Functional abdominal pain is more specifically often diagnosed as “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” (IBS). This syndrome isn’t a disease that you can see or prove with a microscope. We know it runs in families, and that the pain can be intensified by emotional stress. Psychotherapy or treatment for depression can help the pain, at least sometimes, as can regular exercise and stress-reduction strategies. Diet can certainly make IBS worse, especially a diet with lots of refined sugars and weird processed chemicals.
The study shows children with IBS have an increased sensation of pain to stimuli that doesn’t cause pain in other children. The biopsies and tests are normal in children with IBS because there isn’t any actual tissue damage, yet the pain sensitivity these kids experience is very real and testable. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disease of increased sensitivity to pain, when bubbles of air or stool masses or other feelings that most of us do not find uncomfortable cause pain to them sometimes severe.
Consult your Pediatrician if your child is experiencing frequent abdominal pains. There are other potential causes that need to be explored like lactose intolerance and constipation are both common. Usually, a careful history and physical is all that’s needed to confirm a diagnosis, though sometimes some blood or stool tests are needed. If your child does have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it’s good to know that it’s not serious, and that some simple lifestyle and dietary modifications can help. More severe cases can be referred to a Pediatric Gastroenterology for further evaluation and treatment.