If you are unsure where your symptoms are coming from or if you suspect that you have a medical condition, do not be afraid to seek out a physician. It is not easy to identify gastrointestinal issues, as many factors play a role. So your doctor will try to get the best possible picture of your situation: They will ask you about your complaints and any pre-existing illnesses. Known triggers, duration, type of pain, location and accompanying symptoms play an important role in isolating the problem as well. The physician will further ask you about your general living conditions and eating habits, stool, urination and any potential changes to your weight. Also, palpation, monitoring of gastric sounds or an ultrasound of the stomach can help them decisively in the diagnosis. Sometimes a blood test or a gastroscopy or colonoscopy is necessary.
Stomach pain in children
Children suffer relatively often from abdominal pain. Worried parents ask themselves what could be the cause of the complaints: Fatty food in the evening? A gastrointestinal virus? Or is it a simple fear of school? To rule out a physical cause, you should always consult a physician, especially if the pain persists or returns frequently.
Small children in particular often have difficulties locating the pain correctly and other parts of the body can be affected. However, if children keep complaining about having abdominal pain, it’s often caused by (school) stress. This can trigger a disturbance in their stomach movement (motility) and hypersensitivity within the gastrointestinal tract - and thus complaints such as nausea, bloating, stomach cramps and flatulence. In addition to abdominal pain, there are other symptoms that may be associated with stress, for instance:
- Eating disorders
- Changes in behaviour (aggressive or withdrawn)
- Concentration deficits
If the reason for such a stomach pain is stress, there are measures to prevent and combat it. Try to:
- Actively listen and ask questions about worries and fears combined with offering suggestions for solutions.
- Help your child to spend his or her free time in a relaxed way - with selected activities/hobbies that are fun, with enough time for play and for friends.
- Show your child that school is a good place by encouraging him or her to attend regularly – otherwise, the problem can only get worse.
If you are unsure where the symptoms of your child are coming from or if you suspect that they have a medical condition, do not be afraid to seek out a physician!