Common Tummy Issues Children Experience

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Common Tummy Issues Children Experience

December 14, 2019

Whether you have a newborn, toddler, or young child, we all know how difficult tummy trouble can be and how surprisingly frequent it can happen. As parents, we want to fix the problem fast but knowing exactly how to help can be tricky.

Below we discuss some of the most common stomach-aches children experience, symptoms to look out for, and different ways you can help make your little one feel better. This is by no means a definitive list of all the issues your child could experience in their lifetime so if you are unsure at any moment, please contact your doctor.

Potential Symptoms

Your kiddo might be telling you they’ve got tummy pains if they show one or more of these signs:

  • Fussy or grumpy behaviour
  • Lack of sleep or lack of appetite
  • Crying more frequently or severely than usual
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting or regurgitating after eating
  • Trouble being still (squirming or tensing up muscles) Makes faces that show pain (squeezing eyes shut, grimacing)

Stomach-aches are common for kids. Luckily, they’re not usually caused by anything serious. They can be painful, though, so it’s good to have soothing strategies on hand.

What Can Cause a Stomach-Ache?

Colic usually happens in babies under 3 months old. Doctors aren’t entirely certain why babies get colic, but it is common and quite painful. Your baby might have colic if he:

  • Cries more often in the late afternoon/evening, cries for at least 3 hours for 3 days a week or more, and for at least 3 weeks
  • Pulls their legs to their chest when crying, and
  • Passes lots of gas

Soothing strategy: Every baby is different, but there are options you can try:

  • Calming measures may be used and include soothing motions, limiting stimulation, pacifier use, and carrying the baby around in a carrier
  • Turn off the lights and keep surroundings quiet. Too much stimulation can often trigger crying or make it worse.
  • Soft music, white noise or a gentle shushing noise can soothe some babies.
  • Natural intervention with probiotics

Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. The constant noise and stress of a crying baby can wear down even the most patient parent.

Gas. In babies, colic and gas often go hand and hand. Their new digestive systems are still working out the kinks as they grow. Gas can come from:

  • Bad bacteria in the intestines
  • Swallowing air
  • Trouble digesting formula or certain foods
  • Trouble with breast milk when mom eats certain food

Soothing strategies: If you’re breastfeeding your baby, talk to his doctor about your diet. You may be able to solve the problem by avoiding foods that seem to bother your baby. If he takes formula, ask your doctor if switching to a different kind might help. You can also try giving your baby gas drops made with simethicone, lots of parents do this but be careful – there’s no clear proof that they work.

Constipation. It can hurt when little systems back up. If all your child can get out is hard, dry bowel movements, or none at all, he’s constipated.  Some of the reasons constipation happens include:

  • Holding in bowel movements
  • Not eating enough fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Changes in diet or routine – especially common during seasonal events like going to school and family gatherings

Soothing strategies: The best way to calm a constipated tummy is to get bowel movements moving again. There are a few ways you can help get things going:

  • Give your child prune juice.
  • Cut constipating foods out of your child’s diet, like milk and cheese.
  • Make sure your child gets regular physical activity.
  • Try supplementing with a probiotic

Do not give your child a laxative until you check with your family doctor or pediatrician.

Diarrhea is another frequent tummy issue kids experience. Most kids will have diarrhea from time to time. It usually doesn’t last long and often gets better on its own. Diarrhea is usually caused by an infection in the intestines. The germs that cause the infection are:

  • Viruses (most common)
  • Bacteria
  • Parasites

Soothing strategies: Diarrhea caused by different infections require different solutions

  • Viral diarrhea goes away on its own. Just like with adults, the best thing to do is to keep your child hydrated and satiated with simple, low ingredient foods – water, plain crackers, soup, etc.
  • Most kids with bacterial diarrhea need treatment with an antibiotic or probiotic. Probiotics are generally considered safe to use as they are naturally occurring, but make sure you research the brand to ensure they are scientifically backed to treat diarrhea. Antibiotic should only be taken under doctor recommendation.
  • Parasites always need treatment with anti-parasitic medicines.

Regardless of the specific symptom, if your child’s stomach-ache comes on quickly, or if it won’t go away, check in with the pediatrician.

If your child is experiencing any of the above-mentioned tummy issues, head over to BioGaia.ca to see if BioGaia could help get your little feel better.

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