Stomach Pains and Vomiting

Are stomach issues serious?

Stomach ailments rank high on the list of common childhood complaints. But it can be difficult for parents to know just how serious their child’s discomfort is. You can count on the expert Henry Ford pediatricians to help you through the various childhood illnesses your child might encounter.

If it’s after hours or on the weekend, and your concern is not an emergency, Henry Ford has a variety of same-day primary care options that will keep you out of a crowded ER.

Non-serious stomach conditions

  • Gas pains: Usually gas pains involve sharp pain or cramping but not vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Constipation: Severe abdominal pain may be the result of a hard stool which is difficult to pass. Constipation is not serious, but it can be painful and lead to other issues such as hemorrhoids or urinary tract infections.
  • Food issues: Many times food intolerance can cause stomach problems. The best way to determine if a certain food is causing problems is to eliminate various food items and see if the stomach problem goes away.
  • Stress or anxiety: Stress at home or school may cause stomach problems.
  • Viral infection: Sometimes the stomach pains that come with diarrhea and vomiting are the result of an illness like a stomach virus. Because you cannot treat viruses with antibiotics, it’s best to let the virus run its course. However, remember to keep your child well hydrated to prevent dehydration.

Treatment for non-serious conditions

  • Rest and fluids
  • A warm bath or hot water bottle on the stomach
  • Teas such as ginger, mint or chamomile
  • Increase fiber and water intake to relieve constipation. Be aware that dairy and bananas may contribute to constipation.Keep your child on a bland diet for a couple days until diarrhea or vomiting have passed.

Serious conditions

  • Dehydration: Although some cases can be mild, be aware if your child is going to the bathroom less, has pain during bowel movements, is sleepier or seems sicker.
  • Appendicitis: Intense abdominal pain that starts near the belly button and moves down the lower right side of the stomach may be appendicitis. Other symptoms include fever, and your child may refuse to walk.

When do I seek medical care?

  • Call your pediatrician or go to the emergency department if:
  • There is blood in the stool or vomit, rapid breathing, back pain, pain with urination or loss of consciousness
  • Your child is experiencing symptoms of appendicitis (see above symptoms)
  • Your child is experiencing symptoms of severe dehydration (see above symptoms)
  • Your child has been vomiting or had diarrhea for more than 24-48 hours.
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