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Pediatric Abdominal Pain: What Doctors Want Parents to Know

Abdominal pain in children is one of the more common reasons to seek urgent medical care. To better diagnose and treat the possible causes, keep the following in mind:
Pediatric Abdominal Pain
Diagnosing Pediatric Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain is common symptom for many health issues – some harmless, some dangerous:

  • Constipation or gas
  • Viral infections (e.g. “stomach flu”)
  • Acid reflux
  • Food poisoning
  • Food allergy
  • Appendicitis
  • Problems with the gallbladder or intestines

When To Seek Medical Care
Is your child experiencing worsening abdominal pain, especially with nausea, vomiting, and fever? Then, it is highly advisable to seek medical attention to rule out serious problems such as appendicitis, which if untreated can actually be fatal.

Even if your child is experiencing more common symptoms, like diarrhea and cramps, it’s possible to become dehydrated enough to make medical care prudent.

If the symptoms are worsening, or your child can’t keep liquids down without vomiting them back up, it’s definitely time to be seen.

We recommend having a doctor or urgent care provider evaluate your child by doing an examination, which may include performing stool or urine tests. At our Woodbridge Walk-In Urgent Care, we would check for the most common benign conditions, as well as the more rare but severe possibilities.

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Peter L Kim, MD

Dr. Kim,  is the Medical Director of Family Care Centers, Former Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Hoag Hospital, and a recipient of the Physicians of Excellence award from the Orange County Medical Association. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine, and has been practicing in our community for over 20 years. He is an excellent, caring, and well­qualified physician who is dedicated to providing you with superior health care. A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from UCLA and received his medical training at the LAC­USC Medical Center. After completing his residency in Family Medicine, he accepted a sports medicine fellowship at San Jose Medical Center, an affiliate of Stanford University. He enjoys working with patients and families who are training or want to get back into an active lifestyle.

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  • It was great that the article elaborated on the fact that if your child is experiencing symptoms like diarrhea and cramps, it is possible for them to become dehydrated and require medical attention. My daughter came home from school yesterday saying she had a stomach ache, so my wife and I have been looking for a pediatric doctor to take her to. It is helpful to know what signs to look for in our child to determine when we should take her to the doctors.

  • It’s good to know that pediatric abdominal pain could be caused by appendicitis. My daughter has been telling me about some abdominal pain that she’s been having, and I want to make sure she can recover properly. I’ll be sure to take her to a healthcare center so that we can determine if it’s appendicitis.

  • Thanks for discussing abdominal pain. My son says his stomach and chest hurt. I’ll take him to a doctor to see what is wrong.


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