Video

Dr Christian:
Stomach pain and nausea are common complaints in children but the symptoms can signify many different problems from mild to serious, so it’s important that you know the difference.

Constipation is a very common complaint and can be easily identified. If your child is finding it hard to poo, it’s likely that they’re suffering from constipation. It’s rarely caused by a medical condition and is usually the result of dehydration or stress. In some cases it can be the result of an anal fissure, which is where there is a small tear near the opening causing pain during bowel movements. The child can also be constipated due to anxiety or toilet phobia, or if they feel stressed or pressured during toilet training.

Constipation can be a very frustrating condition and can also cause slight nausea, loss of appetite, as well as very smelly wind. It usually only lasts a few days providing it’s treated properly. Do this by changing your child’s diet to high fibre foods, like wholemeal bread, give them plenty of fruit and vegetables and make sure they drink lots and lots of fluids too, and in severe cases speak to your doctor or the NHS direct.

If you child’s poo is loose and runny with a very bad odour and they’re going to the toilet frequently they’re likely to be suffering from diarrhoea. Diarrhoea also can be accompanied with vomiting. Diarrhoea and vomiting are often the result of an infection in the stomach or bowel so let’s have a look at some of the most common conditions.

Rotavirus is a nasty virus which infects the stomach and the intestines. The symptoms start with a sudden onset of diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pains and sometimes a high fever. They can last between 3-8 days and it is a highly contagious infection which spreads through diarrhoea. To prevent others in the household from catching this, make sure the infected child washes their hands regularly and you disinfect the toilet after each use. Even though your child feels sick they must drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration.

Another infection of the intestines is Giardiasis, which is a parasitic infection which gets into the intestines and passes out in the poo. The symptoms include very explosive watery diarrhea that can be particularly foul smelling, also indigestion, nausea and excessive flatulence. It’s a particularly unpleasant infection and although some may recover on their own, others may need antibiotics in severe cases. The Giardiasis parasite is spread through poor hygiene, swallowing sewage contaminated water from lakes and streams or simply touching objects which have previously been touched by an infected person.

Crohn’s disease is a very severe and chronic gastrointestinal condition. It isn’t contagious and is usually inherited genetically. It can cause abdominal pain along with diarrhoea and loss of appetite, it can also cause ulcers in the gut which can bleed showing as blood in the feces, and too much blood loss can lead to anaemia. Unfortunately, there is no cure and this problem has to be managed throughout life. There is medication available which can reduce the inflammation and a change in diet can also help with the symptoms. If you suspect this for any reason then go to the doctors and get it checked.

Coeliac disease is another chronic condition but has less severe symptoms. This condition causes the body to have a bad reaction to any foods containing gluten which is found in wheat used in making bread, pasta, pastries and cakes. If a person with coeliac eats food containing gluten their body can react with diarrhoea and vomiting. If the condition isn’t recognised early on it can lead to stunted growth, failure to gain weight as well as anaemia. There’s no cure but symptoms can be managed through the complete exclusion of gluten from your child’s diet and this is much easier nowadays as most supermarkets have a wide range of gluten free products.

Appendicitis is a serious condition and can be fatal if it’s not found in the early stages. The appendix is found in the small area to the right side of the colon. Its function’s not fully understood but we can live without it. Appendicitis is caused by an inflamed and infected appendix. Symptoms usually start with pain in the lower right hand side of your tummy and this can grow steadily worse over several hours and it can the shift over into the centre of your tummy. Nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhoea can also accompany the pain.

The only way to treat it is with surgery to remove the appendix before it bursts inside the body. If this happens it can be fatal so you must trust your gut instinct and get your child to A&E quickly.

The fact is that your child is likely to suffer from stomach complaints many times throughout their childhood and most of these problems will sort themselves out but always contact your doctor for advice if you’re in any way worried.

Read the video transcript

Stomach complaints and nausea, both mild and serious, are Dr Christian’s big topics in this video. Discussing the causes of constipation, diarrhoea and vomiting, such as infections of the stomach and bowels, like the rotavirus, to additional symptoms such as abdominal pain and a fever, to ways to prevent catching it, such as washing your hands regularly, to treatment such as rehydration, all info is provided. Furthermore, Dr Christian discusses different types of medical conditions and infections which can cause stomach bugs, and are often more serious, such as giardiasis, Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease and appendicitis. If you’re worried your child may have one of these conditions, please consult a GP.

Please visit Patient UK to find out more about the following:
Constipation in Children
Toddler’s Diarrhoea
Gastroenteritits in Children

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My 3.5 year old keeps complaining he is cold in his private area. He has had a tummy bug and although he is fine in himself his poo is still a bit slimey. Should i be concerned that this is more than your average tummy bug?





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my 2 year old has been having upset stomach and has been throwing up alot for at let 3 weeks now. i took.him to the doctor they gave him medince to take but it isn't working im scared that he will have this for the rest of his life





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Hi I am 22 years old now and i been having stomach problems sense i was birth i believe. I don't know how am i still alive but i am. I thank GOD everyday. I have a lil girl also anyway i have super chronic constipation i never in my life bleed from down there thank god but i been with different doctors like crazy some say i have nothing and one said i have Hirschsprung Disease, i got a lot of test done on me and supposably i did have it. But tell now 2014 still having this problem anyone have any advice please i feel like dieing sometimes how bad it gets i hardly get to do nothing my stomach inter fears in my life. I can not even work i tried getting ssi but doctors say theres nothing wrong with me i say bull. so please anyone help with advice.





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My 6year old girl has had a sore belly for months now b4 school after school everyday,her breath smells and so does her toilet,I'm gettin worryd because it's al the time now?





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She could have a bacterial infection. Chronic bad breath can be caused by the precence of excess bacteria. I would get this checked out I'm immediately since it sounds like this has been on going for quite awhile.

I have been suffering with nausea for a few years now and for the past couple of weeks and been getting bad episodes of stomach cramps that sometimes go to my bad aswell but not all the time i have an ultrasound pelvis scan booked for february and scared there gonna tell me it's ovarian cancer as I have been looking on google and my symptoms are quite similar and the worry is making me very ill please help





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Hi I'm 19 female I have had pains in stomach ribs and back for about two week at first I thought drank too much at house party but after few days later I couldn't move out of bed was in complete agony , couldn't eat or go toilet so went to doctors they said treating it as uti but if no change in pain to go back now in so much pain I'm waking up crying feels like I'm dying not being dramatic so look like doctors monday can anyone give me some ideas how to get rid of pain really would appreciate it





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My 4 yr old boy is always complaining of bad stomach ache and he always suffers with diarrhoea at least twice a week been to the doctors bit still none the wiser he Is always crying in pain just don't know what to do now just want it sorted for my baby!!





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Hello im14 years old and havent started my period but im getting pains in my tummy.. they come and go and sometimes they are on there own other times they are when i breathe in deep or sit in a funny position.. Im really scared and its sometimes round my chest, please help!!





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my 4 month old son has had problems with his stomach/bowl since he was born.took him to doctors on numerous occasions and getting nowhere.one week he is fine the next he has diahorea then he's constipated or he's crying in pain and I can hear his stomach popping.this has been going on for months and I am getting a bit tired of it and just want an explanation. please help!





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My son is now 4 years old he was 3 months early and always had trouble with his bowels maybe once or twice a week. He complains of tummy pain, goes very pale and has been sick. Been to the doctor they have no concern just tell me to buy calpol or change his diet, he has a good balance of food. There is bowel problems in the family. Don't know what else I can do, help?





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