Tummy troubles in tiny-tots

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

Here are a few of the common causes for your child's tummy aches:

  1. Constipation - This is the most common cause for pain in young children. Young children concentrate too much on playing and having fun. Eating properly and drinking fluids is the last of their concerns. Add to this their irregular bowel habits and they tend to become constipated a lot.

  2. Lactose Intolerance – Lactose is the kind of sugar found in milk and milk products and the inability to digest this sugar is known as lactose intolerance. Symptoms could be diarrhea, bloating, gas, etc.

  3. Urinary Tract Infections - UTIs are common in little children in the 1 to 5 years old age group. Bed wetting, increased frequency of urination, pain and burning while urinating, and also discomfort in the lower abdomen and bladder area are the hallmarks of this infection. Fever is mostly absent in such cases, unless the infection is severe.

  4. Streptococcal Throat Infection - The bacteria streptococci causes sore throat and this infection is very common in little children below 5 years of age. The symptoms of this infection include sore throat, fever, and abdominal pain.

  5. Appendicitis - Though a rare occurrence in children under 5 years of age, it does occur. The characteristic symptom here is pain located centrally in the abdomen along with nausea and vomiting.

  6. Lead Poisoning - This may be too hard to believe, but it is actually true. Little children have the habit of scraping off the wall paint and putting it into their mouths. Plastic toys also find a way to the little mouths eventually. All these contain harmful lead and slowly and steadily their concentration builds up in the body and can cause lead poisoning related stomach pains!

  7. Emotional Disturbances - When your little one says that he doesn’t want to go to school today as he has a stomach pain, read between the lines. There may be more to it! Emotional upsets at school can give rise to stomach aches. Difficulty in adjusting to school routines, a strict teacher, bully friends are all some causes that may make your child bring up a stomachache to avoid school!

Your child's treatment depends on what the doctor thinks is causing the pain. Treatment may be as simple as sending your child home with advice to rest, take fluids, and eat a bland diet. Other treatment options include hospital admission and surgery.