Young boy with an apple slice

Pediatric Abdominal Pain | Stomachache

A stomachache is a very common complaint in children but not usually a sign of a serious problem.  Call your child’s provider if the pain persists and does not go away. There can be many reasons why your child might be having a belly pain. Even though there is pain in the stomach area, the actual cause of pain might not be the stomach at all.

What is a stomachache?

The stomach is found in the abdomen, along with intestines, bladder, kidneys, liver and other organs. A stomachache can happen for many reasons. If there are no other symptoms and the pain goes away by itself and does not recur, it’s usually not serious.

In a child, a stomachache may be caused by:

  • Change in diet
  • Constipation
  • Infection
  • Diarrhea
  • Appendicitis or other problems with the intestines

Should I call the doctor?

If your child has any of the following symptoms, contact your provider:

  • Your child’s belly looks swollen or feels hard
  • There is vomiting, diarrhea, fever or nausea
  • Symptoms are severe or worsening
  • Symptoms occur more and more often
  • Pain stays in one specific part of the belly.

Preventing stomachaches in children

Making sure your children eat right and get plenty of rest is the best way to keep stomachaches away. Here are some tips:

  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.  The fiber found in these will help keep bowel movements regular.
  • Watch portion sizes, and avoid eating too much food at one time.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Wash hands before eating.
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Try not to eat right before bedtime.

Primary care is your first stop for care

Whether you choose a pediatrician for the kids and an internal medicine doc for the adults -- or opt for a family medicine doctor for the entire family -- MaineHealth has the primary care providers to meet everyone's needs.

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