Most cases of abdominal pain do not need to be seen by us urgently. You can likely figure it out by searching “Abdominal Pain” on AskDrSears.com and reading about the 20 causes we discuss there.

The main reason to see us urgently on the same day is if you think your child has appendicitis. Here is how to tell:

  • Most cases or appendicitis occur in children over five years of age.
  • Pain is focused in the lower right front of the belly, or may start around the belly button then move down to the lower right.
  • Pain is severe, likely stays almost constant, and gradually worsens.
  • Pain gets worse with movement, especially with coughing or sneezing, or when you press in on the lower right side of the belly. Ask your child to jump up and down. If pain gets much worse with this, then that’s a concern. If your child is in too much pain to even stand and try to jump, that’s a concern.
  • Fever, loss of appetite, nausea and/or vomiting, along with the pain characteristics above.

Children who complain of sharp abdominal pain, even severe, but who then can run around and play a few minutes later, and don’t have many of the above signs, likely don’t have appendicitis.

Chronic Abdominal Pain is a common problem in children, and usually takes a long appointment with us to figure out (not a same-day quick urgent appointment). In most cases, constipation is the culprit. Read about this and other chronic causes in our website article and follow the guidelines there before calling for an appointment.

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