Tummy ache 

Tummy ache in children is common. Most children do not require treatment and the pain will get better by itself.

  • Common causes of tummy ache include constipation, a water works infection (urinary tract infection) and tummy bugs (gastroenteritis). 
  • Less common causes include appendicitis. Most children with chronic abdominal pain never have a cause found.

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What should you do?

  • Offer your child a normal diet and plenty of fluids.
  • Give them pain relief such as paracetamol (calpol) and or ibuprofen.
  • If their pain is not controlled with simple pain relief, if they develop jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), have a swollen tummy, are peeing more or less than usual or have blood in their poo or wee, you should arrange for them to be seen urgently by a medical practitioner. Call your GP surgery or NHS 111.
  • If your child also has runny poos (diarrhoea), try to avoid them getting dehydrated (see diarrhoea and vomiting information sheet).

 

Download 'Abdominal Pain' advice sheet

 

Download 'Diarrhoea and Vomiting' advice sheet

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How long will my child’s symptoms last?

  • The duration of your child’s symptoms will depend on the cause of their abdominal pain. 
  • If they are constipated, their pain may improve once they have had a poo. 
  • If they have gastroenteritis, it may last a couple of days. 

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When should you worry?

Your child should see a doctor if they...

  • are in severe pain despite simple pain relief.
  • have green or blood stained vomit.
  • become drowsy or unresponsive.
  • are struggling to breath
  • are pale and floppy.

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Where should you seek help?

Find urgent care services near you

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