Children can suffer from stomach cramps due to various reasons. Digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, stress, infections, food poisoning, overeating and even appendicitis can trigger cramping in children.
Stomach cramps can even wake children at night which causes them to miss school or miss a chance to play with friends. Parents should consider a number of measures to help ease the stomach cramps. Nevertheless, it is vital to consult a doctor in case the pain requires medical care.
Measures to ease stomach cramps
- Apply a heating pad or hot water bottle on the stomach of the child. The heating pads are ideal for older children while a hot water bottle works well for infants. The child should rest on his/her belly on top of the heat. For infants, place the bottle on your knees and gently put the baby’s belly on top. You can utilize a heating pad on the low setting. Make sure that it is applied for 15 minutes at a time throughout the day. The parent must always be present once the child is using a heating pad or warm bottle to prevent burns.
- Massage the stomach in a gentle manner using a circular motion for 15 minutes several times throughout the day. Massage can help relieve the gas and constipation among children.
- Make the necessary modifications to the diet of the child for a day when the child is experiencing stomach cramps. Remove spicy foods from the diet and provide the child with clear liquids and bland foods until he/she starts to feel better. Take note that these foods include broth, water, ginger ale, cracks, ice pops and toast.
- The doctor should be consulted regarding over-the-counter pain medications to reduce the pain. Provide the child with the right amount of medication as indicated on the packaging for his/her weight and age.
- Comfort the child by holding and spending time with him/her to minimize stress and keep his/her mind off the stomach cramps. In case the child is up for it, allow him/her to watch his/her favorite move or play his/her favorite game as a distraction.
Important considerations to bear in mind
In cases of severe stomach cramps that are accompanied by fever, vomiting and appetite loss, it is best to consult a doctor. If the pain originates close to the belly button and radiates to the lower right side of the abdomen, it might be an indication of appendicitis.
As for cases involving persistent stomach cramps, you have to bring the child to a doctor for careful assessment.
You can prevent stomach aches among children by making sure that they get enough sleep, wash hands regularly, eat fiber-rich foods as well as avoid overeating and eating before bed time.