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Daughter keeps saying, "My stomach hurts" HELP!

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My daughter will be 6 in July and for the past year she keeps saying her stomach hurts. Now I know what you're thinking, DUH take her to the doctor. Well, I have, several times and he has given her a liquid medication to take a night time and in the morning that is suppose to help.

Well, her "stomach pain" seems to be rather unusual in that she can be playing one minute and the next minute, her stomach hurts. And it hurts "all over". For awhile, it only hurt at bedtime, now it hurts when it's time to homeschool.

She does have allergies and I'm wondering if that could be part of it. Last year was a bit stressful as she got a new sister and her grandfather died. I know stress could be a large part of it.

I'm at a loss as to what to do. I hate to put her through a bunch of tests if there's really no physical problem, I hate to have her using it as a way to get out of things and get attention. I hate to give her meds all the time.

Any idea what's going on? Suggestions??

Thanks,
Sandy
post #2 of 22
Well...at a guess, I would be wondering if "my tummy hurts" is code for "I am sad/upset/don't want to do X". My dd has said that periodically. Sometimes it was a bedtime, but that often went away once we raised her pillows - I think she has a bit of reflux like her dad. Sometimes it would happen because she held her poop for WAY TOO LONG or didn't have enough fiber in her diet, that kinda thing. But sometimes, it was really about wanting to talk or something bothering her. The idea was that I would not insist she go to sleep, we would talk longer, if you see what I mean? Lastly, sometimes it meant "I don't want to do that", which seems to be possible if she only gets tummy aches when its time to do school work...

Hope this helps.
post #3 of 22
I had this a LOT as a little kid. I think maybe 50% was stress: maybe take a little break from homeschooling? ( I was also homeschooled, and I know that can be stressful: you spend all day with the teacher, so if something was difficult with the schoolwork, it sort of can feel like it never ends.)

The biggest thing that helped me, though, was water. Turned out I had a sort of acid imbalance, and lots and lots of water really helped. They did do all the tests, and found nothing, and then I started drinking 8oz of water whenever my stomach hurt, and maybe another 8oz fifteen minutes later, and voila! no more stomach pain!

Of course I still had the migraines...
post #4 of 22
Does she drink milk? Maybe that is part of the problem.

My son used to get stomach aches and we searched and searched for the problem. We noticed a pattern...it was when he was stressed, especially if SO and I fought. We were arguing in a Disneyland hotel one night when he got such a terrible stomach ache that he was stuck on the toilet. We opened our eyes after that and have calmed down any disagreements we ever have.

Also, once he got a terrible stomach ache when he wanted a toy. We told him that we might get the toy for him, but we weren't sure. We were on vacation and he REALLY wanted that toy and couldn't stop talking about it. We told him not to ask anymore or we'd have to say "no" and then came the terrible stomach ache....he was THAT stressed about if he'd get that toy.

Is there some kind of pattern? Do you get upset with her when you do your homeschool stuff? Does she like to go to bed or is it a fight?

Lisa
post #5 of 22
We went through this with my younger DD when she was 4 or 5. Personality does have a lot to do with it--whenever she would feel anxiety she would interpret it as stomach pain. It's really not that uncommon. Here is a link that might be helpful:
http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/welco...inal_pain.html
post #6 of 22
my dd uses it for stress/anxiety/avoidance too. we've been working on giving her language to use instead.
post #7 of 22
My ds (5) does this a lot. I have IBS and I suspect he has developed a sensitive tummy, too. My dad (a dr.) and our family dr. say its most likely just adjustments as he grows. Kids apparently often go through phases where their tummies hurt as it grows and shifts around. Dunno.

Keep track of what she eats and when. I know ds often gets stomach aches when he eats sugary or fatty things on an empty stomach. I do, too. I give him one regular strength Tums when he says it hurts and I think that helps him psychologically.

hth.

lilgreen
post #8 of 22
Is it always when she wants to avoid doing something? Or does it come up at other times here and there as well? I couldn't be sure from your post, and to me it just strikes me as strange that she would use a tummy ache as a bedtime avoidance technique. I can see using it to get out of school work, but "sick" usually means "in bed." It just struck me as unusual.

I would rule out a physical cause before assuming it's psychological. I'm not sure what kinds of tests would be called for, or how invasive they would be, but I would be afraid to miss something by assuming it was anxiety related.

I hope she feels better soon!
post #9 of 22
Just a thought. I used to suffer from bladder infections starting when I was 3 and the only way I knew how to describe the pain was that it was my stomach. It could very well be stress, but I'd rule out physical stuff as well. Also, stress can actually bring on bladder infections.
post #10 of 22
I sometimes ask my ds to point to the part that hurts, even when he says it's all over. He usually rubs his lower abdomen, rather than his stomach area. It seems to be gas or diarreah related cramps with him when he has this complaint. Sometimes he points to his bladder and I guess that his bladder hurts after he pees because he held it for a long time, something I've experienced.
post #11 of 22
My first thought is dairy? Does she have dairy in her diet? I complained of tummy aches ALL THE TIME as a kid and regulary took medicine to help (probably took it daily for most of my childhood.) I spent 3 days in the hospital for testing as a 3 year old. They didnt figure anything out during that time. When I was in my young 20's and started eating a vegan diet (had already been vegetarian so the only new difference was cutting out the eggs and dairy) my daily belly aches went away. Hmm.... I'm very lactose intolerant.

If your DD eats dairy, I would cut it out from her diet for a few weeks and see if that helps.

Also, you can try ginger tea if she'll drink it when she complains or get some tummy herbs such as the herbs for kids brand tummy complex or I have seen another, can't remember the name now, at the health food store that is a blend for belly aches for kids.
post #12 of 22
I used to have serious issues with gas after eating peanut butter. One minute fine and the next severe pain then fine the next minute. No other issues. Eventually I realized it was the oil added to cheap peanut butter and as an adult if I get for example things fried in older oil or things dripping in oil the same painful gas returns, like mcdonalds french fries. I guess you have to take a good look at what she is eating and when. For example if you homeschool every day after breakfast is it possible something she ate could bother her? The same thing she could have had at dinner which would show up at bedtime. But I would still not rule out her using it to get out of things.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well, there doesn't seem to be any relationship between eating and tummy hurting. She can wake up and say her tummy hurts. Her bowels are very regular so no problem there.

As far as school, we only homeschool when she wants to, but after 15 minutes of doing her choice of subjects, the tummy can hurt. I haven't pressed homeschooling as this has been an eventful year with adopting daughter #2 last April and my Dad dying last Septmeber and we're waiting to bring home our son from Guatemala who will be 1 next month. So there has been and is a lot of stress. She loves her sister to pieces and wants her baby brother, but it's still stress just the same.

She is a drama queen and will develop whatever ailments the rest of the family may experience. Got a headache? She does too. Cut your hand, her hand hurts too, I have joked with my husband that I hope he doesn't have prostate problems cause hers will hurt too

We've heaped on the attention when she "hurts" and we've played it down when she "hurts". Of course she gets a lot of special her time with me and DH and Grandma and praise for being a great big sister.

If it is stress related, any natural remedies? Herbs?

Sandy
post #14 of 22
My daughter, almost 7yrs.old has complained about that for over a year now--also no physical reason...just recently we started giving the kids Chamomile tea before bed--it calms them and is a digestive aid---it has worked wonders. I know they have herbal pills as well, we just like the calming effects of nice warm tea with honey and lemon and the digestive aid in Chamomile is a bonus for my daughter--they sleep like a dream now!!
post #15 of 22
Gentle natural remedies for digestive problems include peppermint (unless reflux is the issue), chamomile, and ginger teas, and probiotics. Probiotics, especially, are very effective-- some people are able to use them to keep inflammatory bowel disease in remission. As far as medical testing, you could have stool sample testing done to rule out occult blood (which wouldn't be cancer in someone her age, but lots of things can cause it) and infections, and that wouldn't be invasive at all.
post #16 of 22
Moving to health and healing
post #17 of 22
My dd1 went through "my tummy hurts" issues when she was eight(?) and there was a lot of stress from various issues. She would cry and cry. We went to the doctor who couldn't find anything but offered more invasive testing to us as an option - which we didn't take as I really had that gut mom feel that it wasn't something physical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zansmama View Post
The biggest thing that helped me, though, was water. Turned out I had a sort of acid imbalance, and lots and lots of water really helped. They did do all the tests, and found nothing, and then I started drinking 8oz of water whenever my stomach hurt, and maybe another 8oz fifteen minutes later, and voila! no more stomach pain!
We treated with a glass of water too. I don't think it had a thing to do with dehydration but it gave her something to do, and might have helped pyschologically.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgreen View Post
Keep track of what she eats and when. I know ds often gets stomach aches when he eats sugary or fatty things on an empty stomach. I do, too. I give him one regular strength Tums when he says it hurts and I think that helps him psychologically.
DD1 to this day has issues if she eats too much sugar without enough protein. We also tried Tums; figured it was better than the testing route.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetAngels View Post
I haven't pressed homeschooling as this has been an eventful year with adopting daughter #2 last April and my Dad dying last Septmeber and we're waiting to bring home our son from Guatemala who will be 1 next month. So there has been and is a lot of stress.
I think it is ALL about stress. Lower the stress and the stomach issues will go away. They did with my dd. She hasn't mentioned it in over a year easily - and it used to be an EVERY day, big deal.
post #18 of 22
I'll tell you what we did for my daughter. She had a tummy ache on and off for about a year. We took her off dairy and still, the tummy ache kept coming back. We had food allergy testing and nothing showed up. After much frustration and research I decided to take her off gluten. After about 3 weeks there began to be some relief. As time goes by, it continues to get better as long as she consumes no gluten. So, "dr. mom" diagnosed her with celiac, just from her symptoms and improvement.

When I went back to doc he said he could test her for celiac but she would have to be back on gluten for 3 months before they could test her, or the test would be inaccurate. I said no way I'd put her through that again. So we just try to keep her off it. The thing about celiac is that if that IS the problem, your child isn't going to have symptoms IMMEDIATELY after eating the food-- that's the difference between a food allergy and intolerance. Allergy will show up right away and intolerance takes time. Intolerance makes it hard to determine what's causing the problem. So you may want to go ahead and ask your doc to test for celiac since your child is probably still consuming it.

My dd also has anxiety induced stomach aches. Since we were hit by the tornado, anytime the sky is even a bit cloudy she gets a tummy ache. That's a trigger for my digestive issues also.

So, your dc may have a combination of stuff going on. My therapist suggested deep breathing exercises as soon as you feel your anxiety trigger (tummyache in your dc's case). Its never too early to teach deep breathing--helps in so many situations.

Good luck in your journey!
post #19 of 22
I also give dd fish oil, probiotics (kyodophilus), and digestive enzymes.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
WOW! So glad to hear that others have experienced the same thing. I'll try the herbal route first. Wish I could reduce the stress, but adoption and death aren't very controllable, KWIM? IF we do get our son (he's tied up in the US Embassy right now) there won't be any more children so that won't be an issue.

If the herbal doesn't work, then I'll go for diet. Like yesterday and today, she didn't/hasn't said a word about tummy. Grandma was here to visit yesterday and papa is home today.

Sandy
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