When children complain of abdominal pain, there are often emotional problems
Today 25 percent of children suffer from abdominal pain. According to the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) in Cologne, in most cases no organic disorders or illnesses on the part of the doctor are diagnosed. Fears, anger or stress are often triggers for the symptoms, reports the pediatrician Dr. Ulrich Fegeler.
A quarter of children suffer from recurrent abdominal pain today. However, no organic cause can be found in most children. In many cases, it is mental problems that trigger abdominal pain. Abdominal pain associated with school problems disappears on weekends, for example. These types of complaints are also called "functional abdominal pain". "Small children complain of abdominal pain more often, parents should note when it occurs and ask their child where it is particularly uncomfortable," advises the pediatrician.
Emotional complaints are felt around the navel
The area around the belly button is surrounded by nerves and blood vessels. If a child is troubled or stressed, the muscles around the navel can contract. The child then complains of discomfort and reports of stomach ache. If pain in the lower or upper abdomen can be localized, diarrhea and fever are added, a disease could be present, says Fegeler. If a child stops playing because of the pain or discomfort or wakes up at night because of the pain, there may also be organic causes.
Take children's complaints seriously
In any case, parents and their child should go to a pediatrician if the little patient repeatedly suffers from abdominal pain attacks. If no organic causes can be determined after a thorough examination, this does not mean that the children do not suffer. “Parents shouldn't forget that children experience functional abdominal pain in real life”. Therefore, parents should always pay attention to their children and not dismiss the symptoms with the words "You have nothing". Relaxation exercises, emotional attention or just rest and sleep can be the first steps towards recovery. If functional pain persists, it is advisable to consult a licensed child and adolescent psychotherapist. "Mental illnesses also have their cause, which should be taken seriously," adds graduate social worker Gritli Bertram. "Parents should take their children's fears seriously." (sb)
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