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What causes lower abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in children?


Author: Admin

Date: 28 January 2023


Abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting are the most common symptoms of the gastrointestinal tractor the GI tract. The combination of all these symptoms mostly indicates an infection of the GI tract. 

Abdominal pain is the discomfort around the lower quadrant of the stomach between the ribs and the pelvis region. Diarrhea refers to the frequent discharge of stools in liquid form or the excretion of an undigested food item. Vomiting can be described as the regurgitation of food consumed from the stomach to the mouth and is an involuntary action that is preceded by an aura of “throwing up” or nausea.

These symptoms may be followed by passing gas (farting), and fever. Sometimes the child may not express the symptoms adequately but cries, refuses to eat, or becomes fussy or grumpy, which may indicate discomfort or abdominal pain.

Causes of abdominal pain

  • ·      Constipation – due to fissure of the anus, hypothyroidism

·      Trapped wind – increases the pressure around the visceral organs leading to abdominal pain

·      Gastroenteritis or infection of the gut – through contaminated food 

·      Food poisoning – ingestion of an inedible substance or food product

·      Urinary tract infection – a spread of bacteria in the urinary bladder

·      Colic – irritation and crying of a child due to any psychosocial trigger

Causes of diarrhoea

·      Food allergy – if the child’s body doesn’t digest any specific food item

·      Viral infection – a spread of a virus through contaminated water or food

·      Bacterial infection - a spread of bacteria through contaminated water or food

Causes of vomiting

·      Lactose intolerance – some children cannot digest the lactose present in dairy products such as milk, cheese, curd

·      Gastroenteritis or infection of the gut – inflammation of the intestines through ingestion of any infected food 

·      Swallowing something poisonous – which may lead the immune system to throw it out of the body

·      gastro-oesophageal reflux – if the child has swallowed a large quantity of food or milk in a short duration, it may cause them to throwback most of the swallowed food

Other causes

·      Appendicitis – inflammation of the appendix due to any obstruction or blockage of the appendix through viral or bacterial infection

When to seek a doctor?

Most of the time, the abdominal pain is not serious and get resolved on its own but if it accompanies by other symptoms or if the child has any of the following: -

·      Abdominal pain for more than 24 hours

·      Pain gets worse with physical movement

·      Pain during urination

·      Trouble sleeping

·      Loss of appetite

·      Tired most of the time

·      Dehydration with sunken eyes, dry lips and drowsy

Immediately rush to the nearby hospital if the vomit has blood or is green in color or if the color of the stool is black or bloody diarrhea.

Testing and diagnosis

·      Urine and stool test

·      Blood test

·      Ultrasound

·      X-ray


·      Oral rehydration solution (ORS) or intravenous fluids

·      Medications such as paracetamol for pain relief according to the age and weight of the child

·      Operation if the cause is non-treatable through home care and medications

How to ensure the well-being of the child?

A child is not able to comprehend the seriousness of the condition he/she might be in, so it’s the caregiver’s responsibility to ensure the well-being of the child and make sure they get the appropriate treatment as soon as possible. Abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting can become fatal if not treated on time.

·      Do not scold the child if they become irritated

·      Make sure they drink fluids

·      Ensure they get some rest

·      Distract them from pain by playing with them 

·      Make them sit on the toilet to excrete stool if constipated

Experience exceptional pediatric care at Park Hospital, a leading child hospital in Delhi. Our team of expert pediatricians and nurses provide comprehensive and personalized treatment for children of all ages.

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