Children are more likely to experience recurring abdominal (or tummy) pain. 1-2 children out of every 10 children intervene in abdominal pain in early childhood. Recurrent stomach pain can make children and their parents anxious or depressed.

Recurrent abdominal pain is a medical team used to describe tummy discomfort experienced by your child over three months or more. Doctors now use the term "recurrent abdominal pain" to describe cases of tummy pain that is not due to any other medical reason.

What is recurrent abdominal pain?

Recurrent abdominal pain is a common complaint in a family. Sometimes it can be associated with vomiting. The child will vaguely pass their hand over their belly button when asked where the pain is. They may cry if the pain is intense. It usually lasts between 15-30 minutes, then disappears to appear at a later date.

This problem affects at least 10% of schoolchildren. It is directly related to the socio-economic status of the family. Children from well-off families don't eat enough fruits, vegetables, and cereals. They also frequently access junk food, maida, and sugary soft drinks. This can lead to constipation and subsequent abdominal pain.

A child under three years old should be treated with more seriousness if they are experiencing any pain.


These include:

  • Constipation
  • Chronic or severe diarrhea.
  • Vomiting
  • Unexplained high temperatures
  • Losing weight.
  • Incontinence or soiling their undergarments
  • Joint pains

These symptoms do not necessarily mean your child is in danger. These symptoms are often called "alarm" symptoms. They set off an alarm for a doctor and remind them to look into other causes of the pain.

RAP can feel different for each person. It can be intermittent or continuous. It can feel like a dull ache in the stomach. Some people experience sharp cramps. Other than pain, diarrhea and throwing up may also be present.


Although there are many possible causes for recurrent abdominal pain.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Heartburn
  • Lactose intolerance is a condition that causes difficulty digesting the sugar in milk products.
  • Infections of the urinary tract
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal migraine
  • Indigestion
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Period pain / menstrual-related symptoms in adolescent girls
  • Problems with the liver or gallbladder
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancer
  • Parasite infection


Your child's symptoms and family history will be discussed with the doctor when you visit them about RAP. They will want to know when the pain started and what makes it worse or better. They'll then conduct a complete physical exam.

They will likely take blood samples and urine to test for specific conditions. This could include a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound. A colonoscopy is a procedure where a doctor uses a flexible, thin tool to examine your colon and rectum.

These tests will allow your doctor to determine the best treatment for you or your child. You will need treatment if you have a particular health problem that hurts your stomach. A doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, such as eating new foods or managing stress. A combination of several things can be helpful.

How to ensure my child does not have a severe condition?

Your doctor will examine your child and determine possible causes based on the symptoms.

If all tests are normal and your child does not experience any serious symptoms, then the possibility of serious disease is very unlikely physical illness or other condition causing the pain.

Because severe conditions are often quickly diagnosed, they tend to worsen and show alarm signs. If your child has been diagnosed with RAP and you notice new symptoms, you must see your doctor immediately.


RAP is a chronic, sometimes disturbing symptom for patients and their parents. Treatment is unusually symptomatic and mild medication to relieve the symptoms. Visit your pediatrician in case of serious and nonresolving red flag signs.   

Children with RAP should not be prescribed medication unless they are experiencing severe symptoms that have not responded to treatment. Side effects of many medications can cause stomach pain and make it more severe.

Also, Read: Cases of severe constipation in kids have gone up to 30 percent post-pandemic

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