Baby abdominal pain - what is it?
Childhood abdominal pain, especially in a baby, is a common complaint.
Since many diseases, regardless of whether they come directly from the abdomen or from outside the abdomen, project themselves onto the stomach and then become noticeable, it is important at this point to be able to distinguish whether or not there is a serious problem behind these abdominal pain. As a parent, you should therefore follow the course of the pain closely and learn to assess it.
If in doubt, it is certainly important and helpful to consult a pediatrician for clarification, who can explain to parents how to deal with abdominal pain in a baby. The warning signs to watch out for in case of abdominal pain and how to deal with harmless abdominal pain, for example by massaging the abdomen or globules, are explained below.
What are the signs that my baby is having bulk pain?
First of all, it is important to know that not only diseases or regulatory disorders that originate directly from organs in the stomach cause abdominal pain in a baby, but that organ systems such as the lungs or metabolic disorders can also express themselves in this way.
If this is the case, other symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, earache or the like usually occur in addition to the abdominal pain. Cystitis in babies can also cause abdominal pain. It is therefore important to examine the baby completely for all organ systems and to bring all symptoms into context in order to find the cause.
Often the abdominal organs are actually responsible for the abdominal pain. If the esophagus or the stomach is affected, problems with food intake predominate, e.g. the baby eats worse than usual, spits more often or belches open more often. If the bowel function is impaired, diarrhea, a distended stomach and flatulence with increased air leakage occur more frequently.
Read more on the topic: Flatulence in the baby
Changes in bowel movements
In addition, constipation can also occur in this context, which can cause stomach pain. In general, a baby is very uncomfortable and grouchy when it has a stomach ache, that is, it screams and cries a lot, does not like to eat or drink, it does not sleep well or sleeps through it and it hardly feels comfortable in any position. Often the baby then just cries until the increased pressure in the abdomen then subsides due to a burrow or air outlet. The baby is also tired more quickly and does not feel like playing.
Changes in stool, such as color changes or sticky bowel movements, can also occur as part of abdominal pain in babies. They can provide an indication of food intolerance or fat digestion disorders.
Read more on this topic at: Sticky stool in the baby
Warning signs for serious causes
If there are serious problems behind the abdominal pain that should be resolved quickly, this usually manifests itself in special symptoms.
A warning sign is gush-like, explosive vomiting, which differs significantly from the usual spitting up after eating.
In addition, a baby then screams much more shrilly than usual and is even less easy to calm down.
Another warning signal is when the baby eats little and does not gain weight or even loses weight. This can be seen in standing skin folds, a sunken fontanel and a poor overall impression of the child. Even if the child is sleepy or appears altered, one should be vigilant.
If the baby vomits and has fewer or no bowel movements, the combination of these can be an indication of a passage disorder and a doctor should be consulted immediately. Failure to thrive or blood in the stool are warning signals. If the baby suddenly has a devastating abdominal pain without any improvement and reacts very sensitively to touching the abdomen, a medical evaluation is important.
Read more on this topic: Vomiting in the baby
Abdominal pain in babies can have various causes, which do not always have to be directly connected to the abdominal organs. Deep-seated pneumonia or a cold can also cause abdominal pain in babies. You can also use a Urinary tract infection in the baby or a kidney problem are possible causes. Most of the time, however, the stomach and intestines are sick or their function. A fairly common cause of abdominal pain can be flatulence, which is triggered by certain food components that the mother has ingested and passes on to her baby through breast milk, such as cabbage vegetables or legumes. In addition, too hasty drinking of the baby, which may swallow too much air, can cause abdominal pain.
Read about this too Pyloric stenosis in the baby
Bacterial or viral infections that trigger gastrointestinal inflammation can also be a reason for abdominal pain, especially if close contacts are also ill.
Another common cause is what is known as three-month colic. They usually appear as early as the second week of life and last around three months. The reason for this is probably that the gastrointestinal tract, which consists of nerves and muscles, which, however, only move involuntarily, has to train food intake and its utilization in the first few weeks of life. The affected structures can be irritated and then react inappropriately, since they still have to mature in the tasks. In addition to the abdominal pain, there is also gas, for example.
In some cases, especially in the phase of life in which the babies begin to crawl, the irritable bowel can occur, which occurs especially after gastrointestinal inflammation and also causes abdominal pain. Furthermore, a baby can also have irritable bowel syndrome, which is characterized by the fact that there are regular abdominal pain that gets better with bowel movements and in this context the stool consistency or frequency also changes.
Anatomical malformations of the stomach or intestines or other abdominal organs cause abdominal pain and corresponding symptoms in a baby very early on and can usually be treated well.
In addition, one should also keep in mind Hirschsprung's disease, in which the rectum prevents the stool from passing, and cystic fibrosis, which can certainly cause digestive disorders. An emergency in a baby that causes abdominal pain is any form of intestinal obstruction, as there is a passage disorder that can irreversibly damage the intestine, as it can lead to blood poisoning or, quite simply, to an undersupply of the child.
Examples of this are a stomach clerk cramp, an invagination of the intestine in a section of the intestine in front of it, or a binding of the intestine by itself or other strands of connective tissue in the intestine.These are emergencies that all require immediate therapy, but in contrast to the harmless causes of abdominal pain, they also occur rather rarely. Finally, functional constipation is also one of the causes that cause abdominal pain. Often no organic cause can be found here. Rather, the babies refuse to defecate for various reasons and thus provoke constipation and abdominal pain. Usually there is a psychosocial problem or a behavioral disorder behind it.
Other important diseases in childhood that require treatment and cause abdominal pain:
Another cause of abdominal pain can be an intolerance reaction to certain food contents, such as lactose or fructose.
A metabolic disease, in which important enzymes for adequate digestion and utilization are missing, trigger abdominal pain, as toxic substances accumulate and the end products actually required for the metabolism are missing.
Therapy of abdominal pain in babies
Since abdominal pain is a common problem in babies and can have different causes, there are also a lot of therapy options that can be individually adapted.
All mechanical passageways in the gastrointestinal tract that cause severe symptoms should definitely be clarified and treated by a doctor. While the intestine can be stimulated to the usual peristalsis again with enemas in the case of simple constrictions and the passage of the intestinal contents can be promoted, surgical intervention is unavoidable in the case of more complicated processes or a mechanical cause of the passage disruption.
In the case of metabolic disorders that are behind the abdominal pain, the missing enzyme can in some cases be administered to the baby in a suitable dose, but this often has to be continued for a lifetime or a special diet that does not contain the non-degradable substances can be undertaken will. Nevertheless, this should be determined by a specialist and ordered as therapy, since a baby should not forego certain nutrients during development.
The same is true of food intolerances or allergies that can give babies stomach pains. Here, too, the triggering substances can or should be avoided or, if possible, made tolerable for the baby by using certain medications. If the baby is breastfed, it can also help that the mother refrain from eating flatulent foods, such as cabbage vegetables or legumes, while breastfeeding.
In the case of a functional disorder of the stomach or intestines, for which usually no organic cause can be found, special training, in which a physiological handling of bowel movements is learned and granulated, can help avoid sequelae that can damage the intestine and to learn normal stool behavior. Thus, abdominal pain can be reduced.
In addition, the baby's tummy can be gently massaged to relieve the abdominal pain. Additional bending of the legs or the use of certain massage oils can have a supportive effect. If you are constipated, lactose or another stool softener can be given. In the case of diarrhea that is viral, there is usually no other measure to be taken in a baby other than sufficient fluids to compensate for the loss. Valuable breast milk, which is important and helpful for the intestines, is a good liquid Bifida bacteria contains. You should be careful with tea and prefer to give boiled water for additional rehydration, although this is usually not necessary in addition to breast milk. Treatment with antibiotics only makes sense in the case of bacterial infections, as otherwise the good intestinal bacteria can also be damaged.
Globules against stomach pain in babies
If a baby often has abdominal pain that is uncomplicated, the parents would like to have the most gentle means at hand that support the baby's recovery without being a burden. Globules are a good alternative to conventional medicines for children.
Homeopathy offers numerous types of globules that can be used for abdominal pain. Lycopodium 6X can help well with three-month colic, which is characterized by flatulence, a bloated stomach in the baby and the typical age of onset. Another remedy that can be used for severe abdominal pain caused by flatulence is Chamomilla D6. Colocynth D6 is said to relieve the symptoms of cramping abdominal pain. The Nux vomica D6 can be used for abdominal pain that occurs after drinking too hastily or excessively and causing abdominal cramps.
Carbo vegetabilis can mainly be given to the baby if the baby already expresses abdominal pain by crying and restless behavior while eating. If diarrhea is added to the abdominal pain, Arsenicum album is recommended as a globules. Magnesium carbonicum is said to have a supportive effect if the baby has difficulty deflating the air that is causing the belly to bloat and is only able to ingest small amounts.
The globules can either be placed in the baby's cheek pouches, where they can dissolve and the baby does not choke on them. Or you can dissolve the beads in some water and then give them to the baby. Which dose is exactly the right one for the baby's age should be inquired about or read up beforehand. As a rough guide, you can give the baby three to five globules every hour in the acute stage and then reduce it to one dose twice a day on the following days.
Globules help with abdominal pain, but cannot help against pathogens, an intolerance or a serious problem with intestinal transit in a baby. So if the baby shows alarm signs, such as blood in the stool, failure to thrive, the pain of destruction or the like, a doctor should be consulted in any case. Nevertheless, globules are highly recommended for mild abdominal pain and digestive problems in the baby.
A stomachache massage can be very beneficial and supportive for a baby.
It is important that you do not press too hard, but instead make gentle, circular movements with one hand, especially towards the left side of the baby's bump. In addition, the legs can be bent and stretched alternately. These measures are intended to relieve cramps in the abdomen, stimulate the usual peristalsis and move the air that causes flatulence towards the exit.
It is best to place the baby on a soft and warm surface on the floor, for example a blanket, and kneel in a comfortable position in front of it. The baby's belly should best be cleared so that certain oils can be used to optimize the massage and its effect. Here in particular, it is important to take care that the baby does not freeze. A heat lamp, warm hands or slightly warmed massage oil would therefore be ideal, as heat can also improve stomach pain. Fennel-anise-caraway oil, which is supposed to relieve cramps and flatulence, is one of the oils that can support the massage of the abdomen in case of pain. On the other hand, simple baby oil can also be used.
In order to better classify a baby's abdominal pain, it is very important and informative for the doctor to get the exact information Course of disease together with the Concomitant symptoms and the General condition of the child to be explained by the parents. In addition, the baby is physically examined. The upper and lower airways as well as the general condition and the abdominal organs are all covered and checked. Just by talking to the parents and doing the physical examination, the doctor can assess very well what is behind the abdominal pain. In addition, if necessary, a Stool sample or a test for food intolerance or a possible allergy. An ultrasound examination is radiation-free for the baby and still provides the examiner with a lot of information about internal processes. If the course is uncomplicated, further imaging, for example, by an MRT or the like, can be used mostly waived become.
Depending on the cause behind the abdominal pain, a baby also has different prognoses. Usually the However, the prognosis for a baby is good, as most stomach aches at this age are harmless in nature. In emergencies you still have to act quickly and should consult a doctor, especially if you have a bad feeling yourself.
If you know the cause of a baby's abdominal pain, you can try to avoid it in order to practice prophylaxis. An example would be one Food intolerance or the consumption of gas that causes gasthat one would rather avoid. Otherwise, it is advisable to have the children vaccinated according to current vaccination recommendations, as this will cause some of the unnecessary gastrointestinal infections, for example through Rotavirus, can be avoided.