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8 year old with stomach ache....could it be anxiety...or something else...
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8 year old with stomach ache....could it be anxiety...or something else?

My 8 year old has been complaining of a stomach ache off and on. It has been occuring about every 2 weeks or so. This last one has started 3 days ago and continues, and failry constant. The pain is generally located on left lower abdomen but now is in the upper abdomen between his ribs.  He has atleast one-two normal bowel movements daily, but does not relieve his discomfort. I have watched his diet, but it does not appear that a specific food is causing the pain. It does not hurt when I palpate his abdomen,(no rebound pain either), no nausea/vomitting but complains of the pain upon standing. He is still able to participate in activities. He is a happy, active child. He tends to be more on the sensitive/caring side. I started wondering if this could be related to anxiety? He does chew on his collars of his jacket at times, and is a little "fidgity" He does well in school but is a "people pleaser." doesn't get in to too much trouble, but sometimes talks too much in class. He denies any fears of school, or anyone bullying him. He states he likes school, in fact he wanted to go to school today instead of staying home. TUMS seem to help for short periods. Just wondering if I am missing something, or could this possibly be anxiety? If so how do they go about treating or diagnosing it? I have given him breathing exercises to do when it starts to hurt, and he is going to try it today.  Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!!
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535822_tn?1389452880
I wondered if it could be reflux as the tums seem to help him ,maybe have him checked out before you go the anxiety route . From the way you describe it it is possible he does have a stomach pain ....
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973741_tn?1342346373
Hi.  I'm the mom of an 8 year old boys as well and it can be hard to figure out what is going on at times, can't it?!  Have you spoken to his doctor about it?  There are some GI thingd that could be going on----  intolerance to certain things like wheat?  Not a flat out allergy that causes a big reaction but just discomfort?  I know that my son also had constipation even though he was having bowel movements daily.

Also, as a child, I had an intenstinal ulcer due to biliary reflux caused by 'stress'.  Now, I'm no spring chicken----  and that was a diagnosis made what seems like a zillion years but it took about 6 months to figure it out and an endoscopy gave the definative answer. My symptoms were very vague but I was uncomfortable and did lose weight.

But, anxiety is also another factor that you are smart to look at.  In truth, anxiety is often triggered but is also a chemical issue in the brain that doesn't have to have anything going on to exist.  My son also has had periods of time in which he chewed shirt sleeves or even would pull his collar over and chew on that.  My son has sensory integration disorder so that being anxious and nervous is more common with that and we worked on things to help him.  Oral soothing is actually a way that the nervous system tries to calm itself.  That's the reason why a lot of adults chew gum.  They do make a lot of things for older kids to do orally---  beaded necklaces they can chew on, something that goes on the end of a pencil that they can chew on (some even vibrate) and a teacher could even just hand him a coffee stirrer to chew on.  All help self calm.  

It is hard for a boy of 8 to verbalize general anxiety.  what about some books from the libary written for kids that might talk about this.  Do a search at your library and see what you find.  I know there is a book about a mouse that worries a lot.  

I think in second grade, academically things really start to pick up.  It is harder.  And the social structure is more complex.  My boy sometimes works hard to do well and to fit in without any major problem doing either, but it is work for him.  As it doesn't just come naturally all the time, it brings on a little self doubt and anxiety.  

So, I'd talk to your doctor first to rule out any true gi issue even if that means seeing a specialist.  And then start to think of what the next step would be to work on any anxiety.  Plenty of things you can and perhaps a therapist could help.  good luck
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you both for such quick responses! I have an appt scheduled for tomorrow with his pediatrician. Yes, I was thinking refulx too or possible wheat reaction?? I was just trying to think of what I should be thinking about before his appointment? I appreciate all the info, thank you.
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973741_tn?1342346373
Well, good luck dear and let us know how it turns out.  
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535822_tn?1389452880
The fact its upper abdomen between the ribs sounds like GERD there doesnt have to be nausea or vomiting with that,does it hurt after he has eaten any food . I expect the Doctor will have a med to see if that helps him,He sounds like a great all round kid.good luck..
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Avatar_f_tn
Aww...thank you, he really is a good kid! No, I do not notice it after certain foods but he doesn't eat spicy foods, but this is something I am trying to pay more attention to though. It is nice to have supportive people to bounce ideas off here on this forum.
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535822_tn?1389452880
Yes it isn't it, I have always thought it a great forum.,It maybe an idea to jot down what he has eaten prior to the pains ,reflux can be caused by many foods not just spicy, even chocolate can trigger it .
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973741_tn?1342346373
I'd also mention to the doctor that the pain migrated from lower left side abdominal.  Good place to start is to look into gi issues and hopefully it can be resolved that way.  For the chewing of sleeves and what not, it is also good to look into helping him with language to express himself and finding ways to cope with emotions he has.  best of luck and let us know how it goes!
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Avatar_m_tn
OMG you are describing my son exactly - same age, same temperment, stomach pain, he's sensitive, a people pleaser, usually happy and active. He also gets very down sometimes - especially when he's hungry or physically tired - like after playing a sport.

I have had him to the doc several times and was thinking I need to take him again because he's missed a few days of school because of the stomach pain in the last month.  I am a psychologist and I have considered anxiety and I also had stomach pain as a kid due to too much worrying.  It may only be anxiety but I would not want to miss something physical.  I have considered putting him on a gluten free diet and I have talked to him about it but he hates the idea.  He is sensitive to certain food additives - MSG, nitrates etc.  I have had some success with giving him probiotics - his stomach pain gets particularly bad after antibiotics.  

Now I'm going to read the rest of the posts.  Good luck!
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