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DD complains of a "sore tummy"

(24 Posts)
Sugarmag Tue 03-May-05 12:16:29

DD (4yrs) has been complaining of a "sore tummy" off and on for the last couple of months. She has no other symptoms - we have even had her tested for a urine infection twice and it was clear both times. She'll be acting totally fine then suddenly stop and tell me her tummy hurts. Of course I ask if she needs the toilet and the answer is usually no. She doesn't seem to be constipated - probably poos about once a day or every other day at the most (sorry but figured it was relevant!).

I don't tend to make a big deal of it when it happens - just tell her to sit and rest for a minute. Two minutes later she'll be back doing whatever she was in the middle of before acting like nothing happened.

Her GP doesn't seem too concerned but is willing to refer us to a specialist if I want. I suspect it's probably nothing but would hate to keep ignoring her complaints if there is anything wrong and now I don't know what to do.

I did wonder at first if it was just a ploy. She does it most often when she's eating and if her tummy hurts of course she won't feel bad about leaving a half full plate on the table. There are two reasons why I doubt this is the case though - first of all I never make my kids finish a meal if they tell me they're not hungry. The thought of being forced to eat something you don't like or aren't hungry for makes me feel sick so I would never impose that on my kids. The only time I give her a hard time is if she asks me for something and then changes her mind the second it's on the table without even touching it. The second thing is, she's started complaining to her nursery teachers now too so it's clearly not just for my benefit.

So maybe there is something is genuinely making her tummy hurt, especially when she eats. I don't want to overreact and take her to see a specialist for nothing - it coudl very well all be in her head! But I don't see how I can ignore repeated complaints after so many months.

Has anyone had any similar experiences?

HappyMumof2 Tue 03-May-05 13:07:39

Message withdrawn

Sugarmag Tue 03-May-05 13:11:22

Just wondering - what's gardia?

spykid Tue 03-May-05 13:12:48

could she mistaking tummy ache for other feelings?
Just a thought but ds2 went through a phase of doing this, either when he was hungry and his tummy must have been rumbling, or what we worked out must have been his body 'processing poo' for want of a better phrase. By that I mean he was building up to needing a poo but was unsure of the sensation.
Sometimes tummy ache can be just a normal feeling little ones can't decipher or explain.

Sugarmag Tue 03-May-05 13:15:05

Yes, she could be mistaking it for some normal function, it's very hard to tell. That's part of the reason I'm so unsure what to do.

HappyMumof2 Tue 03-May-05 13:15:05

Message withdrawn

Twiglett Tue 03-May-05 13:15:29

I was going to post what spykid just posted far more eloquently than I'd have managed

spykid Tue 03-May-05 13:16:39

Why thank you Twiglett
(takes a bow)

handlemecarefully Tue 03-May-05 13:17:24

My dd (2.10) has been complaining of the same thing for a while so I will watch your thread with interest

tatt Wed 04-May-05 05:40:19

my eldest child used to have occasional really bad stomach pains which would wake her at night. At times they were so bad she didn't want to move. We saw our gp several times and he insisted it was constipation. I was never convinced by this as she also went once a day but he said he could feel something in her bowel. He may have been right and we started giving her extra water to drink to avoid constipation. It did seem to help. When she got the pain we used to make her drink more water and if she could walk around - felt really cruel but that's what we were advised to do.

Later she was diagnosed with nut allergy and when we started to avoid all food that had been in factories using nuts the stomach pains stopped. You may just want to check what she has been eating before the stomach pains and keep a detailed list (including all spices/ additives) of anything in her food just to check that it is not a food intolerance. Most people don't realise an allergy can show as stomach pains rather than a rash.

Whether it was constipation, food allergy or something else it DID stop.

Don't normally check mumsnet except for the food allergy section but hope this helps you.

Sugarmag Wed 04-May-05 06:28:52

Thanks, it never occured to me that it could be an allergy but that's definitely something to think about.

The thing is, now I'm wavering the other way again - thinking maybe it is just a ploy. Last night the myseterious tummy pain appeared when it was time to go to bed. I told her if she needed the toilet to go but otherwise to get back in bed. 5 minutes later she was fast asleep....?

She never seems particularly distressed by these pains - just kind of mentions it casually. But then she doesn't get any particular benefit - ie extra attention or whatever - from these complaints so if she was making it up surely it would have stopped by now? I still don't know what to do!!!

Tissy Wed 04-May-05 08:56:42

my dd(3) often complains of a sore tummy, usually whilst at the breakfast/ dinner table, denies needing a poo, and it goes away after a minute or so. It's usually followed within an hour by a poo, so I think spykid's explanation is probably right

handlemecarefully Wed 04-May-05 08:57:15


My dd's tummy pains happen either at night before bed or on the way to Day Nursery!

Sugarmag Wed 04-May-05 09:30:04

Tissy - sounds very much the same as what you're describing.

Handleme - do you have any reason to think she's unhappy at nursery? Someone told me kids can get tummyaches the way grown ups get headaches - ie that they can be a sign of stress or anxiety.

mummylonglegs Wed 04-May-05 10:00:21

My dd's 2 1/2 and quite often says 'ooh ... my tummy hurts' in the middle of something, frequently a meal. I got quite worried about it but then she was ill with a genuinely bad tummy and the difference was amazing. Every time her tummy cramped she'd really clutch it and cry and have to sit / lie down. It made me realise that even if her tummy was hurting the other times it wasn't anything major. Probably like others say a bit of a poo forming or hunger or maybe fullness during a meal?

Sugarmag Wed 04-May-05 10:49:04

Yes, you're probably right. And that's what my initial instincts told me. It's just that after a while I think some guilt set in and I thought -what if my daughter is really in pain adn I'm just ignoring her? Probably better to cope with a bit of guilt than to put her through loads of unneccessary tests. I think maybe I'll just keep an eye on it for a while and see how it goes.

pabla Wed 04-May-05 11:28:02

When my dd was younger she went through a phase of coming downstairs after she had been put to bed, saying her tummy hurt. Sometimes I used to give her a spoon of calpol or milk of magnesia but to be honest, I think it was just a delaying tactic. I can't remember how we stopped it but I remember discussing it with a hv and like others have said, she suggested it might just be normal tummy rumblings.

Lonelymum Wed 04-May-05 11:37:47

Sugarmag, my ds (7) has occasional (sometimes frequent) tummy aches which come to nothing. Of course, there is always a chance that there is something wrong, but until you have more definite symptoms, I don't think you need worry unduly. As you said, "Two minutes later she'll be back doing whatever she was in the middle of before acting like nothing happened." My son is like that too. I take that to mean he is not feeling too bad, as, if he really was ill, his behaviour, as Mummylonglegs said, would be very different.

I think all you can do is continue as you are doing. Don't dismiss her complaints, but don't over-react to them either. Let her know she can tell you whatever she needs to tell you, but be guided by hw she behaves as much as by what she says to you.

Sugarmag Wed 04-May-05 12:05:25

Thanks lonelymum, I think that's good advice. I think I imagined that I would start this thread and people would reply with things like 'oh yes my dd had the same symptoms and it turned out to be <insert grave illness here>'. I'm feeling reassured now and will probably not rush her off to the specialist (not that you can rush these things - most likely would be months before we could get an apt anyway!), just keep an eye on her.

handlemecarefully Wed 04-May-05 13:26:38


She isn't unhappy at Nursery (attends 3 days per week), but would rather be at home with me.

Have you tried the following with your dd:

"Your tummy hurts - poor you. What about you knee does that hurt?...and your back?" etc

If she replies yes to the knee, back etc then you know the tummy pain is not genuine....but then at 4 perhaps your dd is clued up enough to suss that you are trying to catch her out..?

singersgirl Wed 04-May-05 14:35:53

I agree with pps that children do often complain of tummy ache when they're too full, or need a pooh, or just tired - DS2 does occasionally. However, to back up what Tatt said, my DS1 frequently compained of stomach ache, often at tea time - didn't seem to bother him much so I assumed it was hunger/eating too fast etc. For other reasons I put him on an additive etc free diet and he hasn't had a stomach ache since. So in his case it was definitely some kind of intolerance. But I reckon that's probably quite rare, so unless your DD has any other signs of food intolerance (which DS1 had in spades) I would think it's unlikely to be that.

Sugarmag Wed 04-May-05 16:54:47

she very occassionaly comes out in hives for reasons that we have yet to discover. It doesn't happen often and tends to go away on it's own so we've not bothered about it too much - but another possible symptom of a food intolerance?

tatt Fri 06-May-05 05:00:58

Do the hives and stomach problem come together? keep the food diary sugarmag and see if you can link the hives to it. It is a possible sign of an allergy. If its something that she is only getting a trace of now and she has more of it another time then she may have a more serious reaction to it when eating a larger quantitiy. But if its something she already eats in large quantities/ often if may not bother her at all as she gets older. If there is any suspicion that it might be nut traces then you need a referral for testing. Buy a bottle of piriton liquid and give her some next time she has hives - if they then go away within half an hour and it normally takes longer it is a sign of allergy.

If it is food allergy/ intolerance she will quite possibly grow out of it. I suspect its not so rare - just undiagnosed as the children grow out of it and no-one ever realises. Still quite likely its just constipation/ needing to use a toilet.

Sugarmag Fri 06-May-05 12:38:42

Hi Tatt - the stomach complaints happen quite regularly, the hives only once every few weeks or so. And yes, Piriton does clear up the hives pretty quickly. I suspect they are not related and I also susppect that the tummy pains are, as several people have suggested, just constipation/wind/fullness or something along those lines. Thanks for all the feedback.

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