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A to Z Symptom: Belly Pain

May also be called: Abdominal Pain; Stomachache; Bellyache

Almost all kids get belly pain from time to time. While a stomachache can be a symptom of many conditions, most do not have a serious cause.

What Causes Belly Pain?

Belly pain can be caused by:

  • constipation (hard poop) or bloating (gas)
  • an infection (like a bout of "stomach flu" or "food poisoning")
  • food allergies or intolerances, or another food-related problem like celiac disease
  • emotional upset, like stress, anxiety, or depression
  • a problem elsewhere in the body, like a urinary tract infection (UTI), sexually transmitted infection (STI), or pneumonia

How Is Belly Pain Treated?

Sometimes belly pain goes away on its own. Treatment, if needed, depends on the cause. Kids should not take laxatives, antacids, or other medicines unless these are recommended by a doctor.

Talk to your doctor to discuss your child’s pain and any other symptoms.

What Else Should I Know About Belly Pain?

While many cases of belly pain are minor, some can have a more serious cause, like appendicitis. So always call your doctor if the pain is very strong, accompanied by repeated vomiting, or the discomfort gets worse over time or doesn't go away.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Reviewed by: KidsHealth Medical Experts

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