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Tummy ache – excuse or real?

Tummy ache has been my kid’s exclusively favorite excuse to get out of most undesirable situations. Homework? Tummy ache. Turmeric milk before bed? Tummy ache. Test day at school? Tummy ache. So over time, I have learnt not to look into it too closely when he groans “But my tummy is hurting, Ma”. Especially when these words follow a less-than-pleasant chore lined up for him.

Which is why it gets confusing, and at times, late to realize it isn’t a drill when he comes running to me crying about an upset stomach.

So, how do you recognize the red flags from the harmless excuses? Well, after observation over time and after frequent consultation with our doctor in the early days, here are a few signs I usually look out for whenever I find my little one clutching on to his belly with a grimace on his face:

  1. The pain is extremely severe
    When he cannot be distracted by anything and begins to look extremely uncomfortable and at time, even starts crying.
  2. There is blood in his stool
    We mostly notice blood in the stool in combination with either constipation or diarrhoea. But if it is combined with a stomach ache, it can be a sign of inflammatory bowel disorder or other serious intestinal disorders and is time to rush him to the doctor.
  3. He is losing weight
    I’ve even noticed weight loss in my kid from vomiting. It is not uncommon, and he gains that weight back once he is well again. But, if he is continuously and steadily losing weight, that’s when it’s time for a doctor’s visit.
  4. Diarrhoea
    Diarrhoea in children leads to watery stools and stomach cramps, and in some cases, may also lead to dehydration. My go-to solution for diarrhoea management is a couple vials of Enterogermina, one of the top recommended probiotics for kids; and since it is tasteless, odourless and colourless, my kid drinks it with zero fuss.
  5. His puke is a greenish colour
    A serious sign of intestinal disorder or blockage, green vomit coupled with tummy ache is usually a sign for concern and an urgent need for a doctor’s attention.

Stomach pains are incredibly common in children. It is usually a sign of imbalance in their gut flora caused by intestinal disorders.

But prevention, as they say, is better than cure and here’s some tried and tested steps you can follow to ensure your little munchkin’s gut health is not compromised:

  1. Feed your kids lots of fluids and always keep them hydrated
  2. Check if your kid is intolerant to lactose and gluten
  3. Avoid feeding them raw meat or seafood
  4. Maintain A1 kitchen hygiene; your cooking station must always be squeaky clean
  5. Include probiotic foods in your kids’ diets like –
    • Pineapple
    • South Indian foods like idli, dosa, uttapa etc.
    • Natural, unsweetened ginger ale
    • Green peas
    • Dark chocolates (with less added sugars)
    • Bananas
    • Cheese, yogurt and buttermilk (if your kid is not is not lactose intolerant)
  6. Probiotics drugs like Enterogermina. It works great in most cases because it’s lactose free, gluten free and sugar free

One last piece of advice, though. Don’t let your kid find out about your expertise in tummy aches or the next thing you know, they’ve found a new excuse and you’ll find yourself learning again from ground zero. 😉

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