"tummy ache" complaints from 5 year old - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > "tummy ache" complaints from 5 year old
KalamazooMom's Avatar KalamazooMom 10:03 AM 07-12-2005
My 5 year old dd recently started complaining of frequent tummy aches. It started about 2 weeks ago and she'll mention it about 2-3 times a day. She has a normal appetite, is eating fine, normal and regular bowel movements, no fever or any other symptoms. I ask her to show me where it hurts and she just puts her hand on the middle of her belly. I'm just not sure how serious to take this. I can't correlate her complaints to anything she does or doesn't want to do, so I don't think she's using this to get out of doing things she doesn't like. Any ideas? Just a phase or what? I hate to take her to the ped when there is really no other sign that anything is wrong, but perhaps I should. Anybody gone through this?

G&B'sMama's Avatar G&B'sMama 02:26 PM 07-12-2005
I am also interested if anyone has experienced something like this because my DD, who will be five in September, also has been doing this. It will go on for a couple of weeks and then go away for a while. It has happened to heThere does not appear to be anything abnormal except her complaint about tummy aches. I first thought she maybe was fighting a virus, and I later thought it might have something to do with a growth spurt. Shortly after the tummy ache complaints we usually get complaints that her knees hurt, which always means she is growing. I also read someplace that the stomach aches may be a sign of allergy- but I haven't been able to find any correlation.The stomach aches don’t seem to be bad and since their aren’t any other symptoms I haven’t taken her to the doctor, but I did put it on my list for her five year check up in a few months.
LavenderMae's Avatar LavenderMae 02:53 PM 07-12-2005
My dd used to have stomach ahces around that age too. Now at 8 she does not have them. My son who will be 4 Thursday has started complaining of the same thing and when I asked either one of them where it hurts they pointed at their belly buttons. I think it might be related to stress. It didn't interfer with eating or eliminating with my daughter and hasn't appeared to with my son either. It's interesting that other kids have experienced this at around the same age. Do you think it could also be that they are starting to be more aware of digestion at this age?
kazmir's Avatar kazmir 04:23 PM 07-12-2005
My DD also complains of tummy aches and I usually ask her if she has to go potty. Even if she says no, I ask her to at least try. Usually that will take care of it. I think she is so busy she forgets to go and ends up getting slight cramps. Also I think that just the act of trying relaxes her and helps.

My 2 cents
stafl's Avatar stafl 04:29 PM 07-12-2005
I had mystery belly aches that started when I was a small child. My mom did take them seriously, but never found a doctor who would. It was usually blamed on my parents getting divorced, problems at school, or some sort of psychological problem wrong with my head. I was sent to psychologists instead of getting real help, who always told me I needed to stop pretending my belly hurt. This combined to convince me that maybe it was all in my head, so I learned to not tell anyone when I was in pain because 1) they would never believe me anyway and 2) because if it was all in my head I should have been able to make the pain go away. I never was able to make the pain go away, so I figured there must have been something bad wrong in my head. I got mixed up with drugs in high school, as an attempt to self-medicate....

...fast forward...
Shortly after my 30th birthday, I finally decided that my own head would not, could not possibly cause me to be in so much pain and I finally found a doctor who took it seriously (oddly enough, it was also the first doc I sought after marrying DH and getting on his health insurance. Before that, I had *never* had any sort of insurance.) and I was diagnosed with very severe, what they call "stage IV" endometriosis through laparoscopic surgery.

If it were my DD complaining of a belly ache, I'd start keeping track of when she has them (see if there's a pattern or cycle to it), and what else might be going on at the time like stressful events, maybe even see if there are some food triggers while you're at it. I'd document it really well, and take her *very* seriously. Endo often runs in families, so if anyone in your immediate family has it, keep that in mind. If, when her periods start, she has severe cramping, do whatever it takes to find a doctor who will take her pain seriously. The more we are exposed to certain environmental toxins like dioxin, in particular, the more likely it is that our children will develop autoimmune disorders like endometriosis at very young ages. Sometimes there is a genetic disposition for people to be extra sensitive to those same toxins, so even if nobody has endo in your family, consider it a possibility. I am the only female in my family with endo, but my father and my uncle and many other family members have other toxin-related auto-immune disorders.
mama_daba's Avatar mama_daba 06:44 PM 07-12-2005
i agree that you should take the complaints seriously and try and find out if tehre is a cause, i have had problems with pain all my life and doctors always said it was caused by stress stc, but this past year when it got very sever and i had to drop out of school because i couldn't stand up without crying from pain, doctors finally started taking me seriously i still don't have a final diagnosis but through tests they have found that there is definitly something not normal/wrong causing my pain and it may or may not be treatable but it isn't just caused by stress, as a kid my father thought i just didn't want to go to school, and i learned to stop trusting my insticts to this day when i get sick i often think it is just allergies and not that bad until it gets to the point that i have a high fever or worse i end up in er because i have a fever that keeps going up and has lasted to long
mama_mojo's Avatar mama_mojo 07:03 PM 07-12-2005
It can also be a sign of not enough sleep.
ceilydhmama's Avatar ceilydhmama 07:39 PM 07-12-2005
dd has tummy aches. Sometimes it is a forgot to go to the potty thing but often it seems to be an increased awareness of the digestive process (for want of a better description). My family Dr actually gave us the heads up on this and said it is really common between 3.5-7 or so for kids to be more aware of different feelings in their bodies and not have the language or physical sensitivity to tell us what they are. I have been helping dd figure out if it is gas pains, churning tummy, or whatever.

We talk about what the pain feels like, what makes it feel better (rubbing, going potty etc) and are slowing working out the differences. Today, for example, she informed people at the grocery store that her tummy felt puffed like a balloon and she felt a fart would help. :
KKmama's Avatar KKmama 10:08 PM 07-12-2005
I agree that this can be caused by stress, gas, etc. However...

My now 4 year old was complaining that his tummy hurt in January. Kept complaining for a while. I finally got him to be very specific about where (he did the general middle of the abdomen thing, too, but then got a lot more specific with gentle coaxing). It was on his left side, under the ribs (quite different location!). Followed up with his ped... there was blood in his urine (not visible, but came up repeatedly when tested). Did an u/s, was concerned about his kidney's shape. Did more tests, and decided that his ureter was narrow and connected to his kidney in a funny way (ultimately ends up as hydronephrosis--pee backs up in his kidney, and it hurts). However, apparently, his kidney is healthy and works very well, we simply need to monitor it as he grows, and encourage him to pee pretty frequently (to keep the whole system empty).

My point in telling you this is just to encourage you to monitor what's going on, ask questions (but don't make a big deal out of it). If 2-3 weeks go by and the pain is still there, I think a trip to your pediatrician is warranted.
G&B'sMama's Avatar G&B'sMama 01:58 PM 07-13-2005
Originally Posted by ceilydhmama
Today, for example, she informed people at the grocery store that her tummy felt puffed like a balloon and she felt a fart would help. :
:LOL Haven't we all been there before?
KKmama's Avatar KKmama 06:30 PM 07-13-2005
Originally Posted by ceilydhmama
Today, for example, she informed people at the grocery store that her tummy felt puffed like a balloon and she felt a fart would help.

Haven't we all been there before?
Mine just says (in a VERY LOUD VOICE) "MOMMY!!! I HAVE TO GO POOP!" for every single bm.
mud maiden's Avatar mud maiden 09:41 PM 07-13-2005
I hear you, KKMama. We can't get my 4-yr-old daughter to ask before she does things like opening the fridge door, for example, but we always get LOUD advance notification of her intent to poop.

Anyhow, we recently discovered that she had a bladder infection, although she'd only described the symptoms of a belly ache.

Aside from that episode, she goes through regular cycles of mild-but-frequent complaints about her belly. I worry a lot because her father's cousin had Crohn's disease--and because I myself have experienced the profound horror : of intestinal parasites. :Puke But she's been tested for these things, and no obvious problems have been found. I do worry that it could be related to toxins, especially lead, because I've heard that lead can cause colicky intestinal problems.

The only pattern I've noticed is that sometimes it almost seems like the complaints worsen if she hasn't been taking her vitamins on a regular basis for a while. Can't figure out why that would be.
sphinx's Avatar sphinx 09:49 PM 07-13-2005
I was going to post this exact same thing today! My dd (5.5) often complains of belly aches. Often it is clear that it's from stress (if we are hurrying to get somewhere or something), eating too much too fast or the imminent need to poop. But sometimes it seems like it just comes out of nowhere. The not-enough-sleep reference is an interesting one. She's been going to bed late recently and still waking up at the crack of dawn. hmmm.
Earthy Mama's Avatar Earthy Mama 11:18 PM 07-13-2005
My oldest dd had the same problem around the age of 4-5. I took her to the dr. because they were so frequent. They ran every test they had (she loved pooping in a cup!) and nothing came up. They said she probably had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and prescribed her some Zantac. It went away on its own after a while.

I imagine it was stress related--she was about to start school and I think that worried her. She's fine now, though.
emblmrgrl's Avatar emblmrgrl 11:53 PM 07-13-2005
One of my 5 y.o's has complained of tummy aches off and on for the past 6 months or so. We've not determined a cause, they don't have any other symptoms, and they go away fairly quickly. He's a very picky eater and I've sometimes thought he might be hungry and was incorrectly indentifying what he was feeling. There doesn't seem to be anything consistant though. I remember having stomach aches when I was small and they'd just go away so I've wondered if that isn't what he has also.
lula's Avatar lula 06:56 AM 07-14-2005
My dd is a bit younger than the children mentioned but she has frequent "tummy" type issues. I tend to freak out about physical ailments (yes, am working on that) and feel the need to find out exactly what is wrong. One thing that has helped me get information without freaking her out or driving her crazy is by asking her questions like the following: "what would your tummy say if it could talk right now?" "what part of your body/stomach needs to be heard?" etc etc She seems to give really specific information with these questions. Good luck!
KalamazooMom's Avatar KalamazooMom 10:27 AM 07-14-2005
Originally Posted by Earthy Mama
My oldest dd had the same problem around the age of 4-5. I imagine it was stress related--she was about to start school and I think that worried her. She's fine now, though.
That's sort of what I am suspecting in my case. She stars school in the Fall and she seems excited about it but I can imagine it's also pretty worrisome.

Thanks for all your suggestions everyone. Nice to know this is a fairly common occurence.

I think I will try to keep better track of when this is happening and see if there's a correlation with a food she's eaten, need to poop, stressful event, etc.
Marsupialmom's Avatar Marsupialmom 12:27 AM 07-15-2005
My gastro says the two biggest causes of tummy aches are needing to bm (constipation) and reflux.

My 7 year old has major reflux issues. I would watch your daughters diet. Maybe put her on a diet that is limiting like a person with GERD should be on. My dd did this naturally.