This is for anyone looking after a child with abdominal (tummy) pain.
Tummy pain in children is common. Most children do not need specific treatment and the pain gets better by itself.
What causes tummy pain?
Common causes include constipation, a bladder infection (urinary tract infection) and tummy bugs (gastroenteritis).
Occasionally tummy pain is caused by something more serious, such as appendicitis.
In many children with longstanding tummy pain, a cause is never found, and the pain goes away by itself.
Can I care for my child at home?
You can look after your child at home if they:
are alert and interacting with you
develop diarrhoea and vomiting but have no signs of dehydration
experience period (menstrual) pains
are frequently constipated.
What can I do to look after them at home?
Give paracetamol (for example Calpol) or ibuprofen (for example Nurofen). Always read the instructions on the medication packaging and give the correct dose for your child’s age group.
Keep your child well hydrated. Encourage them to drink lots of fluids.
Avoid fizzy drinks and fruit juices.
Offer your child bland foods. For example a piece of banana or plain toast.
Let them lie down and relax.
Encourage them to go to the toilet to do a poo or pass some wind.
When to get help
Call 999 or go to the nearest Emergency Department (A&E) if you notice that your child:
has a temperature which is not responding to paracetamol/ibuprofen. Always read the instructions on the medication packaging and give the correct dose for your child’s age group.
becomes pale and floppy
develops cold hands and feet
becomes drowsy or difficult to wake
has green or blood-stained sick (vomit)
develops severe pain despite pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. This is especially relevant if the pain is on the right-hand side of the lower tummy
has pain in the testicles (especially in teenage boys).
Call 999 or go to the nearest Emergency Department (A&E) if your child develops any of these conditions.
Make a GP appointment or call 111 if your child:
is under 3 months of age and has a temperature above 38 degrees C, or feels hot to touch
is 3 to 6 months of age and has a temperature above 39 degrees C, or feels hot to touch
has other signs of illness, such as a rash, and a high temperature
has a high temperature that has lasted for more than 5 days
develops a swollen tummy
has blood in their poo or wee
experiences constant pain for more than one day, despite taking pain killers
becomes more and more thirsty or is weeing noticeably more or less than normal
develops yellow skin or eyes
has weight loss or poor growth over a few months
is causing you concern.
Make an urgent GP appointment or call 111 if your child develops any of these conditions.
What if my child keeps having tummy pain?
Ask your GP to assess your child if they have tummy pain more than once a week over a period of months. Sometimes children may need a urine or blood test to help rule out certain conditions.
Tummy scans (ultrasound) are not often used as they do not usually tell doctors what is causing tummy pain. In some cases your GP may refer your child to a Paediatric Clinic for further assessment. Your GP will discuss this with you.
Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
Visit the hospital website, ask a member of staff, or ring us for details.
Switchboard 020 8546 7711
‘Find Us’ page for maps, transport, registering a blue badge, disabled access
Information, advice and support for patients and relatives (PALS) 020 8934 3993
Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation support to access Patient Information. Please ring the phone number on your appointment letter, if you have one.
Request More Information
Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).
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