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Avatar universal

child has frequent/chronic stomach pain. Doctors PLEASE give advice as well!

I have a son who will be 8 yrs old in July. He has been having frequent stomach pain. This has been going on for awhile. It started about 8 months ago. However, since it was only happening about twice a month and only lasted for a couple of hours beofre going away, we figured that it wasnt anything to worry about. Well, a couple of months ago he began to have stomach pain that lasted all day. It seemed to begin about 30 minutes after eating breakfast, be more severe for the first hour and was a more mild stomach ache all day. These episodes would happen about twice a week. I called his pediatrician at the time who suggested that it might be a virus. Well, he went about a month with no complaint. Last week, after eating breakfast one morning he came to me crying with stomach pain again. After lying down for a little while he said it still hurt a little but he could play. This time the mild stomach pain is not going away. About 30 min to an hour after he eats, his stomach pain is worse and the subsides to a more dull pain for the rest of the day until he eats again, then the cycle continues.Last night, After dinner and evening snack, he was up until 11:30pm unable to sleep because the pain was worse. When it subsided he went to sleep but still complained of pain when he woke this morning. So for the last week he has had mild to moderate stomach pain that gets worse after he eats, then subsides to mild pain again. He has had no gas, no vomiting, no constipation or diarrhea, and no fever that might suggest a virus. Nor does it seem to be any particular food that is causing the pain. He says it hurts worse in the middle of his stomach, over his belly button and  just above his belly button all the time, and when the pain gets worse he says it speads  out across his stomach. Ive tried to gently press on his tummy, very gently, and he jerks away and says that it hurts when I touch it. He is going to see a pediactric GI doctor in a couple of days, but I dont know how to help his pain so that he can sleep for the next couple of nights. If anyone has any suggestions about what might be causing his symptoms, your input would be greatly appreciated.
13 Responses
Avatar universal
"After eating pain" may be due to
- peptic ulcer. Gastric ulcer pain is worse afterveating; duodenal ulcer pain usually worsen after eating. Well, maybe it's only gastritis, which is in most cases caused by Helycobacter pylori. Breath test shows that, treatment is with antibiotics.
- gallbladder pain (gallstones...) is under right rib cage, like cramps.
- aneurism of abdominal aorta

Suggested investigations:
1. ultrasound of abdomen
2. breath test, or blood test for H. pylorus

You may give him tums (antacids), and try with some tea (green, or black, or chamomile tea). Avoid anything acidic: fruits, fruit juices, vinegar, also spices...

Avatar universal
Thanks for the reply. It did occur to me that it could be an ulcer peptic or duodenal.I didnt think that those happen in children this young though. I, myself, had a peptic ulcer when I was 18. I had other symptoms as well such as vomiting. The complete lack of other symptoms puzzles me.  Im sure that the GI doc will order a ultrasound or similar test and I will definately suggest that my son get one. Thanks for your reply.
Avatar universal
Hi.  I would like to know what the outcome and results were from the doctor's visit if possible.  My son, 10yrs old, has the almost exact symptoms and the stomache pain is just getting worse.  He's been on antibiotics, de-worming tablets, antacids, you name it and nothing works.  I am at my wits end because it's been going on for about a year and he had to even stop playing rugby at school because of this.  Could you please let me know what your doctor suggested because the doctors around here are just giving me the run around.  Did your doctor maybe suggest that it could be because of stress?
Thank you.
Avatar universal
Hi Tisch. My son's GI doctor prescribed Zantac (probably so did yours or something similar). He diagnosed my son with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He said sometimes even when a child doesnt have diarrhea, constipation or any of the other obvious signs of IBS, but has the pain, it can still be IBS. In my son's case he also prescribed Levisin for the bouts of severe pain. The zantac seems to be helping with the chronic mild to moderate pain but he is still having the evening episodes of more severe pain. Its possible your son also has irritable bowel syndrome, which really means that his stomach and the nerves required for his digestion are very sensitive. The anitibiotics, de worming wont work for that. The antacid may or may not help him. My son's doctor says he will order some more tests for my son, such as a sonogram, bloodwork etc if the pain doesnt subside after a few weeks. Your son should be seen by a GI doctor, not his regular pediatrician. Tell your pediatrician that you want to take him to the GI doc.The GI doc will be able to determine what is going on. If your son is already seeing a GI doc, the GI doc should order some tests for your son. If your son has not tried Zantac ask his doc if you czn try that as well. Let me know how it goes.
(By the way, stress can be a factor in IBS. Also, talk to the GI doc about your son's rugby because it is quite possible that he has an injury somewhere and that can become serious if not treated.)
Avatar universal
I have been going thru the same with my 10 year old son since last summer.  They have done everything from endoscopy, sonogram, treatment for H. Pylori which came back negative, prilosec, other antacid medications, etc.  There are no ulcers, no appendicitis. He has been seen by two GI specialists.  The answer so far is that there is nothing physically wrong with him but it's all in his mind, meaning stress or anxiety or nervousness.  He is having some issues in school were some kids do not treat him nice.  He is a kid who takes things at heart and may not be strong enough to defend himself or to stand up for bullying and it affects his stomach.  I have been with this pediatrician since my children were born and we have a good relationship,so I don't want to trust him and follow his professional advice.  He advised psychotherapy.  I will take him to see what the Psychiatrist has to say and I know that some behavioral therapy will not harm him either.  It is so frustrating to see your son bend over and not know what to do.
Avatar universal
My 5 year old has had the same symptoms for the past 2 years. We had a wonderful ER PA check his pancreatic enzymes which turned out to be extremely elevated. This is so rare that the GI specialist never thought to check them. Did any of your children have this checked? It is worth a shot. Could be pancreatitis. Have your Dr's check them if they haven't already. On an ultrasound, my sons pancreas looked ok. We now know that it was not ok. Push the issue- make them think outside the box. Rare things happen.
Avatar universal
My 8 year old son has the same problem , he gets a dull pain right above his belly button and he says he feels this weird thing in his throat ,he starts crying and not knowing what his pain is he gets panic attacks .We have taken him to the ER 2 times already they have dona all the necesary tests except for an endoscopy .
I do want to point out that he is always suffering from extreme gas a lot of burping and mainly the lower gas .
The doctor told us he shouldnt do the endoscopy unless it is really necesary , he said it will stay on his medical record and he is to young . He gave him some medicine but itdoesnt seem to work yet.
Avatar universal

I am an a grad student in Nutrition and Integrative Health. Both my children have experienced many of the described symptoms on this site...I have a sneaking suspicion that it could be SIBO- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth. We just had Organic Acids tests done ( a simple urine test) and BOTH kids have this...my little one also has yeast overgrowth...AND we are SO HEALTHY with our food. It's insane and unfortunately because of the world we live in now....anyway, I am thinking about doing some research into this.

Avatar universal
My son who is 9 had a virus in September 2013 and the same week caught it again.  Ever since he has had the same pain above his belly like most of these posts.  I am working with a holistic doctor that is focusing 1st on his autonomic system.  I will ask him about the SIBO.  Thank you.  ConcernedMom
Avatar universal
Hello,  I noticed it's been a while (almost 2 years) since your posting regarding your son's stomach pain.  My son is 8 and has been going through the exact same thing for a year or more.  Your comment about the "weird thing in his throat", stomach pain, and the panicking is the same that we are going through with our son.  Did you ever find out what it is/was?  Just wondering.  Our pediatrician believes that he is constipated and needs to eat more fiber (which I'm sure is part of the problem), but I feel that there is more to it.  Thank you for any info you can give me.  

757137 tn?1347200053
It could be an intolerance to gluten. In the original post the little boy first got the pain after breakfast. I wonder if he ate cereal.

I was hospitalized twice - once for extreme abdominal pain and once for extreme fatigue. I had been having trouble for years and it was growing worse with time. Although a gastroenterologist (after my hospital stays) suggested I had IBS, medication for symptom relief was offered, but no cause suggested for the condition.

To make a long story short I decided to investigate on my own. The third "cure" I tried was to go gluten free. In less than a week I was pain free. No only that but, as a bonus, my extreme fatigue abated and the panic attacks I had been having (maybe two a week) were gone forever.

If you do try eliminating gluten, you will find sections of the supermarket that sell gluten free foods. They will not contain, wheat, barley, oats, or rye,  or anything made with those grains. You might find it's worth a try.
Avatar universal
My son who is 7 also complains of weird thing in his throat and says he's scared.  I've had him on a gluten free diet for a week and a half.  I haven't noticed much improvement but I'm going to continue it until at least three weeks.  He also has same stomach pains as all the children in these comments.  I'm a worrier and this is upsetting me so much.  I'm so sad that my son is hurting.  GI doc says it's IBS-like and a motility issue.  Doc has never taken any tests unless I insist.  Blood test showed no inflammation.  These comments have been helpful and have given me something to go on.  Any other ideas/comments would be appreciated.
280234 tn?1532989849
My 6 year old has been going through the same thing the last few weeks. She has on & off stomach pain in the center of her stomach, near her belly button. She also has nausea w/ pain that wakes her up some nights. She has also mentioned a sensation of something in her throat. She does get constipated, but I'm giving her fiber gummies & miralax for that which help. I took her to our family nurse practitioner who thought it was a virus. I plan to take her back to her pediatrician this week to see if we can get a referral to a GI doctor. I was just wondering if anyone got a concrete diagnosis of what's going on?
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