Abdominal Pain, Child

ExitCare ImageYour child's exam may not have shown the exact reason for his/her abdominal pain. Many cases can be observed and treated at home. Sometimes, a child's abdominal pain may appear to be a minor condition; but may become more serious over time. Since there are many different causes of abdominal pain, another checkup and more tests may be needed. It is very important to follow up for lasting (persistent) or worsening symptoms. One of the many possible causes of abdominal pain in any person who has not had their appendix removed is Acute Appendicitis. Appendicitis is often very difficult to diagnosis. Normal blood tests, urine tests, CT scan, and even ultrasound can not ensure there is not early appendicitis or another cause of abdominal pain. Sometimes only the changes which occur over time will allow appendicitis and other causes of abdominal pain to be found. Other potential problems that may require surgery may also take time to become more clear. Because of this, it is important you follow all of the instructions below.


  • Do not give laxatives unless directed by your caregiver.

  • Give pain medication only if directed by your caregiver.

  • Start your child off with a clear liquid diet - broth or water for as long as directed by your caregiver. You may then slowly move to a bland diet as can be handled by your child.


  • The pain does not go away or the abdominal pain increases.

  • The pain stays in one portion of the belly (abdomen). Pain on the right side could be appendicitis.

  • An oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C) develops.

  • Repeated vomiting occurs.

  • Blood is being passed in stools (red, dark red, or black).

  • There is persistent vomiting for 24 hours (cannot keep anything down) or blood is vomited.

  • There is a swollen or bloated abdomen.

  • Dizziness develops.

  • Your child pushes your hand away or screams when their belly is touched.

  • You notice extreme irritability in infants or weakness in older children.

  • Your child develops new or severe problems or becomes dehydrated. Signs of this include:

  • No wet diaper in 4 to 5 hours in an infant.

  • No urine output in 6 to 8 hours in an older child.

  • Small amounts of dark urine.

  • Increased drowsiness.

  • The child is too sleepy to eat.

  • Dry mouth and lips or no saliva or tears.

  • Excessive thirst.

  • Your child's finger does not pink-up right away after squeezing.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.