Tummy ache

Tummy Ache

Tummy ache in children is common. Most children do not require treatment and the pain will get better by itself.

  • Common causes of tummy ache include constipation, a water works infection (urinary tract infection) and tummy bugs (gastroenteritis)
  • Less common causes include appendicitis. Most children with chronic abdominal pain never have a cause found.

When should you worry?

If your child has any of the following:
  • Becomes pale and floppy
  • Develops cold hands and feet
  • Is going blue around the lips
  • Becomes drowsy or difficult to wake
  • Has green or blood stained vomit
  • Develops severe pain despite pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Has testicular pain (especially in teenagers)
You need urgent help

Go to the nearest Hospital Emergency (A&E) Department or phone 999

If your child has any of the following:
  • Develops a swollen tummy
  • Pain in middle to right hand side of the tummy
  • Pain on urination
  • Has blood in their poo or wee
  • Experiences constant pain for more than 1 day despite pain killers
  • Has a fever or symptoms continuing for more than 5 days
  • Becomes increasingly thirsty 
  • Is weeing significantly more or less than normal
  • Develops yellow skin or eyes
  • Has poor growth
You need to contact a doctor or nurse today

Please ring your GP surgery or call NHS 111 – dial 111

We recognise that during the current COVID-19 crisis, at peak times, access to a health care professional may be delayed. If symptoms persist for 4 hours or more and you have not been able to speak to either a member of staff from your GP practice or to NHS 111 staff, then consider taking them to your nearest Emergency Department

If your child:
  • Is alert and interacts with you
  • Develops diarrhoea & vomiting but no red or amber signs
  • Experiences pain associated with menstruation in a girl
  • Is frequently constipated
  • If your child has an itchy bottom consider de-worming
  • Additional advice is also available to young families for coping with crying of well babies – click here
Self care

Continue providing your child’s care at home. If you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111

What should you do?

  • Offer your child a normal diet and plenty of fluids
  • Do not worry if your child is not eating normally, as long as your child is drinking fluids
  • Give them pain relief such as paracetamol (calpol) and or ibuprofen as per the instructions on the packaging
  • If their pain is not controlled with simple pain relief, if they develop jaundice (yellow skin or eyes), have a swollen tummy, are peeing more or less than usual or have blood in their poo or wee, you should arrange for them to be seen urgently by a medical practitioner. Call your GP surgery or NHS 111
  • If your child also has runny poos (diarrhoea), try to avoid them getting dehydrated (see diarrhoea and vomiting information sheet)

How long will your child’s symptoms last?

  • The duration of your child’s symptoms will depend on the cause of their abdominal pain
  • If they are constipated, their pain may improve once they have had a poo
  • If they have gastroenteritis, it may last a few days.

Where should you seek help?

Health Visitors

School Nurses

NHS 111

Accident and Emergency