Abdominal Pain, Age 11 and Younger (cont.)
Abdominal pain in children can often be prevented.
- Abdominal pain in children is often caused by irregular bowel habits. Become familiar with your child's normal bowel patterns. Also, be aware of the size and consistency of your child's stools. This will help to determine whether constipation is a problem. For information on preventing constipation and establishing toilet training, see the topic Constipation, Age 11 and Younger.
- Try to make sure your child has regular eating habits. Overeating is a common cause of abdominal discomfort. Have your child eat slowly and stop when he or she feels full. For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating for Children.
- Swallowing air (aerophagia) can cause abdominal pain and a swollen abdomen. Your child may also have a lot of belching or flatus. Limit chewing gum and carbonated beverages to help prevent this. Many children swallow air when they are anxious or frightened.
Preparing For Your Appointment
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your child's condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
- Has your child had an injury to the abdomen?
- How long has your child had the pain?
- What was your child doing when the pain started?
- Has your child had similar episodes of abdominal pain before? What were these episodes like? How were they treated?
- Is the pain constant, or does it come and go?
- Is the pain localized to one area or generalized over the whole belly?
- How severe is the pain? What has your child's activity level been?
- Can your child describe the pain? Is the pain cramping, a steady ache, or sharp and burning?
- What makes the pain better? What makes the pain worse?
- Does your child have other symptoms, such as nausea, urinary problems, constipation, or diarrhea?
- Is your child vomiting? If so, describe how much, how often, and how long.
- Does your child have a fever?
- Has your child recently traveled outside of his or her native country?
- Has your child drunk any untreated well, stream, or lake water?
- Does your child have any health risks?