Abdominal pain is the most common complaint of children, not every time for the much celebrated purpose of bunking school! The cause of pain can be 90% of time functional, and 10 % of time pathological.
It is important not to ignore the complaint attributing the cause to be functional. Here is a basic framework you can use to roughly separate pathological from functional causes.
If the child complaints of abdominal pain for more than thrice a week in a 3 month period, work up needs to be done. The pain can be occasional or recurrent. If the child has following associated features, cause may be pathological:
1. Pain is colicky in nature
2. Associated with blood in stool
3. Pain is localized
4. Child wakes up at night due to pain
5. Associated with worm in stool
If none of above symptoms are found, then the functional causes should be thought of, features of which may be:
1. Pain generally during school time
2. Poor bowel habits
3. Diffused pain in abdomen.
4. No change in appetite
For pathological causes, exact cause need to be ascertained so that appropriate treatment could be initiated. For functional causes, bowel habits need to be regularized, dietary modifications in form of fruits and fibres to be included and counselling of the parents and child should be done.