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How common is abdominal pain in children?

Patricia Thompson
Pediatric Nursing

Abdominal pain and frequency in children varies by age and cause. Causes of abdominal pain are numerous and may be on a scale from mild to severe. Sometimes children develop "gas pains" from food they have eaten. This will usually resolve with time and is not serious. However if this pattern continues a health care provider should be contacted. Other causes of abdominal pain are more serious and require medical attention. When children are experiencing pain they should be monitored carefully by their parents. How long the pain lasts and how severe it is are important signs. If the pain lasts for a period of time or reoccurs often and is severe you should check with your health care provider. If at any time as the parent you have questions about whether the pain is of concern you should follow up with your health care provider for guidance.   

William B. Salt II., MD
Gastroenterology
Based upon a community-based survey reported in Clinical Gastroenterology
and Hepatology, German researchers show that over a three month period, more than one-third of the children ages three to ten years and more than one-fourth of adolescents between the ages of eleven to seventeen suffer recurrent abdominal pain. Many of these young people consult with doctors, and the authors of the study conclude that abdominal pain is “an important public health problem in children and adolescents.”
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.