Tummy pains are common in young people. Most cases are not serious and the pains go away without special treatment.
Common causes of tummy pains are:
- Constipation or irritable bowel
- Infections like gastroenteritis, kidney or bladder infections
- Food poisoning or food allergy or intolerance
- Appendicitis or bowel obstruction
- Period pain
- Stress or anxiety
- No apparent cause
Pains can develop very quickly or more slowly. Vomiting, diarrhoea or fever may occur.
- Encourage your child to drink fluids, especially water
- Sitting on the toilet may help to ease the pain
- Let them eat if they feel hungry – foods like toast, rice and banana
- A warm heat pack may help ease the pain
- Paracetamol may help. Do not give aspirin
Seek medical advice if your child has a high fever (more than 38.5C), has severe pain, does not want to move, is pale and lethargic, is frequently vomiting, not passing urine, has a rash or has had a recent injury.
Constipation is when someone has had fewer than two bowel movements in a week.
Usually due to:
- Not enough exercise
- Diet that doesn’t include enough water and fibre
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Avoiding going to the bathroom
- Travel or change in daily routine
- Sign of a medical condition
General advice – drink more water and fluids, eat more fibre foods like oats, fruit, vegetables, wholegrain breads, beans and popcorn, get enough exercise and develop a regular habit of going to the toilet after meals.
Laxatives may be used on occasion but if required more regularly then please see a Doctor.
- Prune juice is a natural laxative, tastes better mixed with another juice.
- Liquid paraffin mixtures eg Parachoc soften the stool
- Movicol is a powder mixed with water
- Coloxyl with senna tablets stimulate the bowel
- Metamucil is a natural fibre powder and has a mild laxative effect.
Constipation often happens again so sometimes treatment needs to continue. It can be controlled along with a good diet, exercise and improvements in bowel habits.
Sister Margaret Bates