Abdominal Pain: Outpatient

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Abdominal pain (pain in the stomach area) can happen for many reasons. At this time we cannot determine if your child’s pain is caused by a more serious illness. It is very important that you watch your child closely for the next 24 hours.

  • Follow up with your child’s doctor.
  • Have your child rest until he or she feels better.
  • Take your child’s temperature. If he or she feels warm or if symptoms or behavior change, see below. Do not ignore symptoms that continue or get worse.
  • DO NOT USE LAXATIVES OR ENEMAS unless your child’s doctor tells you it is okay.
  • DO NOT use a heating pad or hot water bottle.
  • Give medicine for pain only if the doctor allows it.

Go Back to Your Child’s Doctor or the Emergency Department if Your Child Has:

  • Severe pain lasting more than one hour.
  • Vomiting blood or dark green fluid; constant vomiting and child cannot drink liquids.
  • Heavy or labored breathing
  • Pain or burning when urinating; or blood in the urine or stools.  If he urinates less often or makes less urine than normal.
  • Pain around the belly button that moves to the lower right part of the belly.
  • Constant pain, even if it’s not severe, or pain that gets worse with activity.
  • Swollen abdomen or severe pain when the abdomen is touched.
  • Pain in the groin or testicles.
  • Pain along with vaginal discharge.
  • Constant high fever.
  • New symptoms or symptoms that get worse.

Food and Drink – Follow Any Instructions Checked Below:

  • Your child may have his or her usual foods. Encourage the child to rest and drink plenty of liquids.
  • Infant younger than 6 months – You may give these clear liquids: Infant Pedialyte®, breast milk or formula, or juice.
  • Child older than 6 months – Give clear liquids. This includes water, plain fruit popsicles, Gatorade®, flavored gelatin and clear fruit drinks.
  • Your child should NOT HAVE SOLID FOODS for the next 8 hours. Solid foods include soups, ice cream, sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, etc. Reason: if more tests or surgery are needed, it is best to have nothing in the stomach.

Abdominal Pain: Outpatient (PDF) 

HH-I-316 10/09 Reviewed 2/16 Copyright 2009, Nationwide Children’s Hospital