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Thread: My 10 year old is complaining of a stomach ache--every night

  1. #1
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    My 10 year old is complaining of a stomach ache--every night

    For several weeks now, my 10-year-old daughter has complained of a stomach ache every night. Several times she has slept with a bucket next to her bed because she's afraid she'll throw up--but she has not.

    I know she's stressed out about school and her homework load, and we've been working on some time management stuff to try and help with that.

    I thought at first she might have a virus--but only at night? And for several weeks?

    Her 10-year well check is coming up in about a week, and I'll talk to the doctor about it then, but has anyone else had a kid complain about their stomach like this? What was the solution?
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E.B. White

  2. #2
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    My DD had a similar problem about a year ago. When I took her to the pediatrician I was very surprised to find out that she was completely backed up with poo. When she complained of her stomach hurting I always asked her if she had been/needed to go to the bathroom, and she always said she had gone. Apparently she wasn't going "completely". The nightly stomach aches were her only symptom, but when we took care of that problem she felt much better almost immediately.

    The other thing that comes to mind is reflux. DH has this and it tends to really only affect him at night, when he gets stomach aches and feels like he is going to vomit.

    I hope you get it figured out soon and she feels better.
    Claire

    It doesn't matter what you think, just that you do.

  3. #3
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    I remember going through something similar when I was about her age. It all started one night when I ate something for dinner that I didn't like, and it made me feel sick to my stomach. For some reason, I had ongoing problems with stomach aches after that for quite some time. I think it was mostly in my head though, because I remember having this rather obsessive fear of having that same kind of stomach upset again. Does your daughter remember a specific incident that started it in the first place?

  4. #4
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    My younger brother was a bit of a worrier when we were little. Starting at around 9 years old, he would wake me up late at night with an upset stomach regularly. It got so bad that I told our mom (I am only 2 years older than him). Eventually the pediatrician recommended a fiber supplement daily, which totally fixed him up. I think he ate a Metamucil graham cracker daily. Regardless, I would ask questions about how often she is having BM's and what else is going on, and talk to your pediatrician.
    - Josie


  5. #5
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    The first thing that came to my mind was acid reflux (GERD). Symptoms can vary between kids, and it is not always an obvious diagnosis. It could be worse at night because she is laying down. it also could be something else entirely, but reflux is a possibility.

    Perfect that she has a doctor's visit coming up. In the meantime, I would keep track of her symptoms so you can give the doctor a clear picture of what is going on. i.e...how often does she complain, how long does the pain last, is it pain or nausea, does she ever throw up, and anything else that may seem relevant.

    If you are very concerned, go ahead and call the office early and talk to the nurse. He/she can advise you if they need to see your DD before the scheduled appointment.

    Hope she feels better soon!
    kathyb


    Less rhetoric, more cowbell!

  6. #6
    My first thought was the same thing Clairea posted; DD2, who is 9, frequently deals with bouts of constipation, and her only way of describing it is to say that her stomach hurts.

    Even though we have pretty much resolved those issues, she still had problems, so a doctor suggested that she might be lactose intolerant. So we experimented with eliminating dairy from her diet (it's been two weeks), and she has not complained of a stomach ache since. Could your daughter perhaps be lactose intolerant? My DH is, so the idea was not really foreign to us. Her symptoms are far different from his, though.

  7. #7
    I had undiagnosed anxiety when I was like 8-12 which manifested into bad stomach aches. I have no idea what would have fixed the problem, because I never told my parents. I usually would just take a hot shower in the middle of the night and that would help me go back to sleep.

    I hope you're able to find a cause and solution for your little one.

  8. #8
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    When I was in 4th grade I developed IBS, and yes, I had problems daily. What your daughter is experiencing doesn't sound like what I suffered from then or now though.

    I think what has previously been mentioned is more likely the case - anxiety or constipation. I agree with the poster who suggested asking her more about her bm's - she could be irregular and may need dietary adjustments. Also ask her about how she's feeling about everything going on in her life to see if she gives you any hints of feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

  9. #9
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    Thanks, all of you, for your responses. Stop reading if you're not a mom or otherwise invested in this thread. I'm going to talk pooh now!

    I don't *think* she's constipated. If anything, she has been going more than she usually does, and she says it's "softer and less compacted" than normal.

    Lactose intolerance or some other food allergy, IBS, reflux, or anxiety all seem like plausible possibilities--as does her "making it up" in her head because she's afraid of having a stomach ache. Andrea's theory is actually my gut feeling, but I'd hate to assume it was all in her head and then find out something was actually wrong.

    On the other hand, I don't want to build a little hypochondriac by overreacting to every ache, pain, and symptom.

    D'oh. This parenting thing is HARD!
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E.B. White

  10. #10
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    Sorry to hear this! Unless I missed it, you haven't said what kind of discomfort your daughter is feeling. Nausea? Sharp pain? Dull ache?

    I often have nausea at night - but I've figured out it's when I'm really tired. When I'm overly tired, I feel like I'm going to throw up. I have had friends tell me the same thing happens to them. Could this be the case for your daughter?

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    Robyn, go with your gut no this - it's not something you should just write off as "all in her head". It may not be a serious problem, but definitely one that needs to be addressed.

    For what it's worth, anxiety does cause my IBS to "flare" up. It's mostly food related, but stress is an additional factor.

    May I offer a tip? Peppermint naturally soothes the stomach. Buy some of the round red and white striped ones and next time her stomach is hurting offer her one. She doesn't have to chew it up all at once, just suck on it. I never leave home without peppermints. And I get the sugar free kind to save my teeth

  12. #12
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    She says she's afraid she's going to throw up, so I'm guessing it's nausea or rumbling tummy.

    Yes, it's when she's very tired.

    Yes, she completely overwhelmed at school right now. She's a classic overachiever and her homework/special project load has been insane so far this year. She goes far above and beyond on every project, so she gets all balled up about how she's going to have time to do what she wants to do. Oy ve. It's hard!

    I think the peppermint idea is excellent. I'm going to try it because at least I'd be doing SOMETHING other than sounding frustrated and annoyed at her!
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E.B. White

  13. #13
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    Stress definitely makes my IBS worse. I think my brother's problem was caused by stress and anxiety, and the fiber helped regulate his stomach problems. (I would be miserable without my daily fiber supplement - sorry for TMI )

    Interesting note on the peppermint - my doctor just suggested buying a bottle of peppermint oil and putting a drop on my tongue before eating a meal that includes my "flare-up-foods". So far it has helped tremendously!
    - Josie


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robyncz View Post
    On the other hand, I don't want to build a little hypochondriac by overreacting to every ache, pain, and symptom.
    It is true that kids often base their reaction on ours.

    The best method I found for avoiding this with my own DD is to be matter of fact about things when you talk with your daughter, and don't bring it up unless she does. If you have concerns, discuss them with your DH or whomever when she is out of earshot. At the doctor's office, of course, she will be part of the conversation, but if you maintain a matter of fact attitude about everything, she is less likely to become overly anxious.
    kathyb


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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy B View Post
    At the doctor's office, of course, she will be part of the conversation, but if you maintain a matter of fact attitude about everything, she is less likely to become overly anxious.
    Speak to the Doctor's nurse, by phone, before the appointment to voice concerns. They can be added to the medical file. That way the Doctor can lead into the conversation rather than Mother.
    The cardiologist's diet: - If it tastes good spit it out!

  16. #16
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    In addition to the other information suggested, I'd keep track of what she is eating. I have IBS and oh boy, I eat the wrong thing and it takes a long time to resolve. My symptoms started in high school - and I think they flared up because of anxiety. So it could be a medical issue that is being made worse through anxiety.

    I hope you can find the cause and a solution.

  17. #17
    The first thing I thought of and didn't see mentioned is, maybe she's going to have her first period? I 've read somewhere before that some girls can have tummy aches for several months before their first periods.

  18. #18
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    Good lord, Zwieback, do you think that's possible? She just turned 10 on Saturday. I can't remember exactly when I started my period, but I know it wasn't in 4th grade! Oh, but my husband just said that his sisters both started really early. So maybe that could be an explanation. That sort of nonspecific cramping in the stomach area would be disconcerting--and vague enough that you wouldn't notice it until everything slowed down for the night.

    I'll talk to her about that tonight.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E.B. White

  19. #19
    Robyncz, I know it does seem early, but that was just the first thing I thought of and something I thought you could ask the doctor about when you go. I was in 7th grade when I first got mine, but I was also 11-12 in 7th grade. I think I only had one period then and didn't have another one for about another year.

  20. #20
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    zwieback may be on to something there - 10 seems early but I remember there was a girl in my class who started her period when we were in 4th grade. I started mine when I was in 6th grade and there were several months of cramping leading up to when Mother Flow actually "marked her presence" if you know what I mean, and even then it was a very light spotting. But that type of cramping is very similar to the cramping I experience with stomach aches.

  21. #21
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    I was 10, and I think the average age of menses is going downward nationally.

  22. #22
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    The antibiotics in meat and dairy are causing children to go through puberty earlier than previous generations.

    My brother had IBS that started around that age. Stress did make it a lot worse.

    I was thinking it was nothing until you mentioned the stool change. That's one of the symptoms I've had with my liver issues. I think that the complaints warrant a physical and bloodwork to check liver enzymes, etc. Hopefully it isn't something, but the sooner you treat something autoimmune, the easier it will be on your dd.

    Sadly, a lot of people don't take kids seriously about their health concerns until they're out of high school. My parents just thought that I was fat and lazy when I had an untreated tachycardia and endometriosis.
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by mbrogier View Post
    The antibiotics in meat and dairy are causing children to go through puberty earlier than previous generations.
    Its not the antibiotics in meat and dairy that are causing this. Its thought that it is due to the hormones (bovine growth hormone, etc.) that are used in the meat and dairy industry. The antibiotics are causing a host of other problems (MRSA to name one).

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomasstuart View Post
    Hello friends.
    It all started one night when I ate something for dinner that I didn't like, and it made me feel sick to my stomach. For some reason, I had ongoing problems with stomach aches after that for quite some time. I think it was mostly in my head though, because I remember having this rather obsessive fear of having that same kind of stomach upset again.
    Hmm... That sounds sooo familiar for some reason....

  25. #25
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    That's bizarre!

    Why would someone copy your post?

    I predict a spam attack is imminent!
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E.B. White

  26. #26
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    Just chiming in to agree with PPs re: IBS and peppermint. Digestive issue run in my family (my DBro has 2 ft. of intestins removed), my mom and I have had some really bad issues, too.

    The best thing I ever did for myself was to take enteric coated peppermint oil gel caps. My mom read about it in a homeopathic pharmacy column in the newspaper years ago. We started taking it, and virtually no more issues. Since changing my diet (eliminating proccessed carbs) and losing 60lbs, I have not had any flare ups. At one time, I knew every restroom between my home and work, my home and my favorite stores, and anywhere else.

    While not the original article my mom found, this is information from the same people:
    http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2008/...rb-may-ease-i/

    I like Solaray http://www.affordablesolaray.com/868.html

    The enteric coating prevents digestion until down in the actual intestine. Apparently the oil soothes the lining and cleanses the excess toxins which throws off the rhythm of digestion and causes the upset.

    Robyncz, I hope your DD feels better soon. Stress will do funny things to a body, particularly a really young lady who may not have mastered other destressing coping mechanisms yet.

    --regards,

    Colleen
    ________
    Colleen

  27. #27
    I used to have problems with my stomach hurting every night. I would come home from work and feel the same way, my stomach would hurt and I would feel like I was going to throw up (I actually did on several occassions). This went on for weeks and then I decided to change the resolution on my computer to make everything bigger. Once I did this, my stomach problems went away.

    I already had glasses so I went back to my opthamologist and as it turned out, my prescription wasn't strong enough. I don't know if this is something you have checked, or even if you've already determined what's going on with her, but my vision problems were what was causing my stomach pains.

    I hope she's feeling better.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joribox View Post
    I used to have problems with my stomach hurting every night. I would come home from work and feel the same way, my stomach would hurt and I would feel like I was going to throw up (I actually did on several occassions). This went on for weeks and then I decided to change the resolution on my computer to make everything bigger. Once I did this, my stomach problems went away.

    I already had glasses so I went back to my opthamologist and as it turned out, my prescription wasn't strong enough. I don't know if this is something you have checked, or even if you've already determined what's going on with her, but my vision problems were what was causing my stomach pains.

    I hope she's feeling better.
    That's an interesting perspective! She wears glasses, but her prescription was updated in August so I *think* she's okay.

    We've seen the pediatrician and ruled out infection and parasites (that was FUN!). The doctor also thinks it's stress. We're planning to set up some sessions with a therapist to help her come up with some coping strategies. I hope that helps calm her down!
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E.B. White

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robyncz View Post

    We've seen the pediatrician and ruled out infection and parasites (that was FUN!).
    Isn't it, though? I like how they give you a clear baggie to carry it back in to them. Same clear baggie they gave my husband to carry back his sperm sample in.

    Note to self: Have small brown paper bags on hand at all times.

  30. #30

    My 11 year old is doing the same thing.

    My daughter is 11, she had a fever for 4 days over Christmas and afterward seemed fine.... That is the only time she has really not felt well all year! It's now February and January she started having the episodes of where her stomach would hurt but only at night? She then occasionally has chills and shakes, however there is no fever. She has been experiencing headaches as well and looks pale? I am taking her to the doctor in half an hour but thought it was weird that she felt this way only at night? She is very active plays basketball, volleyball and softball and is not the kind of child who ever stays still.

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