Stomach Pain in Babies

Stomach pain in babies

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Tummy aches can arrive out of the blue and hit your baby hard. Stomach pains are a very common condition in newborns. Since they are unable articulate the feeling of pain, it always results in crying babies. But deciding what is bothering the baby is no child’s play. A stomach ache can be due to various health issues and below, we have listed some common causes of stomach ache along with symptoms and causes.





Common Symptoms of Stomach Ache in Babies

Some signs to look out for in babies to see if they have the tummy ache:

  • Acting more fussy or grumpy than usual
  • Crying an unusual amount
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Squirming or tensing up of muscles
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Not feeding regularly

Baby stomach ache

Common Reasons for Stomach Pain in Babies with Remedies

Here are some of the causes of baby stomach pain:




1. Colic

What is it?

Colic is characterised by incessant crying in infants. It occurs in babies 2- 3 weeks old and can last till they are 4-5 months old. It can also be called as newborn gas pain. If your baby cries for as long as 2 hours a day for three days a week, it could be colic.





What are its causes?

The causes of colic are not known exactly. It might be caused due to wind or indigestion. Some also wonder if some babies might be intolerant toward substances present in mother’s milk.




Symptoms

The baby might arch up to his/ her back and bend up knees while crying. The abdominal muscles might get tensed, and baby might pass excess gas.





How to Treat?

Warm baths, warm compress on the tummy, knee push up exercises can all ease the pain and help relieve the excess gas. There are no medications to treat colic. If it is severe, seek the doctor’s advice. Fennel tea, basil tea, and peppermint tea are home remedies for your child’s stomach pain caused due to colic. These natural substances have antispasmodic and anti-flatulence properties useful for treating gastrointestinal problems. If you do plan to give your baby any of the mentioned types of tea, ensure that you consult your paediatrician regarding any side-effects, dosage, and so on.




2. Constipation

What is it?

Constipation commonly occurs in babies who have started solids. If your baby appears uncomfortable during a bowel movement or hasn’t had one in three days, it might be constipation.





What are its causes?

It can be due to milk allergy, lack of fibre in the diet, not having enough water or due to holding in of bowel movement.




Symptoms

If the baby is constipated, the poop might come out as dry hard stools. Also look out if your baby is straining to poop. Any colour changes in the poop such as red, black or maroon can be a cause of worry.





How to Treat?

If your baby has started on solids, give him/ her foods that can ease constipation, such as pear, prune, oatmeal and peas. Light exercises can also help; lay your baby on his back and move his legs in a cycling motion. Use an infant glycerine suppository if the doctor says it’s safe to do so, since it provides lubrication for the baby to pass stools.




3. Reflux

What is it?

This happens when the passageway between the oesophagus and stomach is not working properly. Reflux is commonly seen in babies, and they grow out of it by the time they reach one. It occurs when the food from baby’s stomach backs up and causes the baby to spit it out. It is also called gastroesophageal reflux (GER) and is rarely serious.


What are its causes?

Reflux can occur due to an immature lower oesophagal sphincter (LES), which is a ring muscle that passes the food down the oesophagus and keeps it down in the stomach. Immature LES can open up and cause the food to throw up.

Symptoms

Symptoms include gagging, choking, coughing, wheezing and spitting up food. Reflux also causes babies to cry a lot during and after feeding.


How to Treat?

Frequent feeding can help. Also keeping the babies head at an elevation using pillows after feeding is a good idea. Doctors might also prescribe medicines to reduce the acid in the stomach so that the discomfort during throwing up is reduced.

Coughing baby

4. Diarrhoea

What is it?

Diarrhoea leads to the watery stools. It can cause dehydration in babies.


What are its causes?

It is commonly caused due to exposure to a virus known as Rotavirus. Bacterial strains such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Escherichia Coli can also cause diarrhoea. Another common cause is contaminated food and parasites.

Symptoms

Runny stools along with general signs of discomfort or fever.


How to Treat?

Since diarrhoea can lead to dehydration, intake of fluids in the form of water or breast milk is important. Consulting a doctor is highly recommended since you could receive a prescription for pediatric oral rehydration. Also if your baby has started to take solid foods take care to give them healthy and light foods.

5. Intussusception

What is it?

It is a rare condition that causes abdominal pain in babies and can occur when the baby is around 8-14 months. This occurs when one part of the intestine slides into another causing blockage and pain. This cuts off the supply of blood and other fluids.

What are its causes?

The causes of this condition in infants are not clearly known, while in adults, this can be caused due to a tumour.

Symptoms

Your baby might pull up legs towards the stomach, vomit frequently and pass dark, bloody stools containing mucus.

How to Treat?

Consult a doctor; your baby will likely be asked to take an x-ray called barium enema that can push back the intestine.

6. Temporary Lactose Intolerance

What is it?

This intolerance occurs when the body does not produce lactase enzyme that breaks down the sugar present in milk and other dairy products.

What are its causes?

This condition occurs in infants with gastrointestinal ailments such as stomach flu and diarrhoea. These ailments can damage the lining of the small intestine making it difficult to digest lactose.

Symptoms

Some common symptoms are diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, bloating and gas.

How to Treat?

Don’t give your baby any dairy product for a few days after the ailment.

7. Motion Sickness

What is it?

If your baby gets sick almost during all car trips, it might be motion sickness. It usually causes stomach problems in babies, accompanied by sickness. But motion sickness is rare in babies who are less than two years of age.

What are its causes?

Motion sickness occurs when there is a disconnect between what the baby sees and what they sense with their motion-sensitive parts of the body, such as ears and nerves.

Symptoms

Motion sickness is usually accompanied by tummy aches and nausea. The feeling of nausea can cause the baby to salivate more and drool. The baby might turn pale too.

How to Treat?

Take short breaks in between your journey. Also, plan your travel to coincide with baby’s nap time. Ensure that the car does not smell strongly of perfume or flowers. Fresh air will do a lot of good.

8. Appendicitis

What is it?

It is an inflammation of the appendix that rarely occurs in newborn babies. The appendix is an appendage at the lower right corner of the abdominal cavity; when blocked, it swells up and causes pain.

What are its causes?

The inflammation occurs when bacteria get trapped in the appendix by hard stools or a large nymph node compressing and blocking the opening. This causes swelling, that, in turn, increases the pressure and causes sharp pain.

Symptoms

Your baby will cry incessantly from the pain. Other symptoms include fever, vomiting and sometimes diarrhoea.

How to Treat?

Surgical removal of the appendix is the only solution, to prevent the appendix from bursting. There is no need to worry since this is a common condition seen in most of the population.

9. Paediatric Hernia

What is it?

This is a condition that occurs when the small or large intestine slides out of the abdominal cavity causing discomfort and infection. There are two types of a hernia possible, inguinal hernia and umbilical hernia. When the intestine slips into inguinal canal and causes swelling around the groin, it is called an inguinal hernia. An umbilical hernia occurs when intestine slides out of a damaged abdominal wall behind the navel.

What are its causes?

Weak abdominal muscles are the main factors leading to a hernia. In boys, it occurs if the inguinal canal is not closed properly and a part of the intestine moves into the canal.

Symptoms

A hernia is characterised by a full rounded belly, vomiting, pain and fever.

How to Treat?

Surgical intervention is required for this condition. A hernia might also close on its own over a period, but the pain can cause a need for medical intervention.

10. Urinary Tract Infection

What is it?

Urinary tract infection can occur in infants as early as 12 months. It causes pain in the lower abdomen. A bacterial infection anywhere along the tract can lead to this condition.

What are its causes?

The infection commonly occurs when bacteria from outside gets inside the bladder or urethra. This condition is not caused by lack of hygiene.

Symptoms

Fever, crying during urination (that indicates pain), odd smelling urine are some of the symptoms.

How to Treat?

Antibiotics are used to treat this infection. Consult a doctor to get prescription for an antibiotic suitable for the baby’s age. Also, take care to complete the entire course of antibiotics to achieve complete cure.

Stomach pains in babies can be due to a lot of reasons, but it is rare that the pain is due to a very serious disease or condition. Most of these pains can be treated at home or go away after a while. A doctor’s advice is always useful in deciding the reason for the pain and to also provide the most suitable treatment for the baby.

Also Read: Stomach Pain in Kids