As mothers, we know it’s always distressing when you see your baby crying endlessly. And the worst feeling is the helplessness which comes along when you don’t know how to ease the pain he is feeling or even why he is crying in the first place. In many cases, the reason may be an upset tummy
Stomach pain is a common problem in babies. Their digestive systems are still getting used to the solid/liquid food, and so they may often experience issues like gas, reflux, acidity, diarrhoea, vomiting and constipation. Although it is a minor health problem for adults, it still causes a lot of discomfort to the little one, and so must be adequately taken care of.
There may be many causes of belly aches. Some stomach aches may be mild and may heal without any treatment while some may require medical intervention.
Pain due to gasses affects almost every baby at some point or the other, whether he is breastfed or bottle fed. It is especially prevalent in infants between 1-4 months of age, due to their underdeveloped digestive systems and may occur due to:
If the breast or bottle is incorrectly positioned, the baby may swallow too much air.
If you feed your baby too much of food, it can lead to various health complications such as deterioration of the digestive system, pain due to bloating and pressure on the stomach and vomiting.
Some babies may be allergic to ingredients in breast milk or formula.
5. Lactose Overload
This happens when your little one gets too much foremilk (milk at the beginning of a feeding) which is rich in lactose but low in fat. This results in the lactose not being properly digested as there is not enough fat to slow down the process, creating excessive gas.
6. Underdeveloped Digestive System
As we discussed above, infants have digestive systems which have not yet learnt how to process the food, gas and stool. They are yet to create their microflora (unique microorganisms that live inside the gut), which help in the digestion process and immune system. This may also be a cause for gas.
7. Gassy Vegetables
Breastfed babies may also have gas if their mothers start consuming vegetables like cauliflower, beans, onions and cabbage.
Change in a baby’s diet, feeding habits or reduced water intake may produce dry and hard stools. This may cause abdominal pain in constipated babies.
Babies between one and three months usually spit out a small portion of what they have consumed soon after feeding. This is because the valve between the food pipe and stomach is not fully developed. The ‘spit’ sometimes reverses back into the mouth and throat, creating stomach pain after.
If there is an obstruction in the baby’s intestines or excessive wind, stomach ache can result.
Stomach Cramps: How Long Will They Last?
So how long will you feel bad with the stomach flu and cramps? According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, symptoms appear within 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to the virus and you can expect to feel better within one to three days. While waiting it out, is there anything you can do to help ease the cramps? Ginger and peppermint are two herbs that might be able to help.
- Ginger: In China, the people have used ginger to treat diarrhea and nausea for over 2,000 years. Ginger comes in different forms, from the actual ginger root to capsules, oils, and food and drinks that contain ginger. Researchers have studied the use of ginger, finding that it can help with nausea and vomiting that come with everything from pregnancy to chemotherapy. For those with the stomach flu, science affirmed in 2005 that ginger calms stomach cramps and spasms.
- Peppermint: You can use peppermint to provide a numbing and calming effect. Peppermint comes in a variety of forms such as teas, dried or fresh leaves from the plant, and capsules. Research has found that peppermint can reduce gastric spasms as well.
What other conditions can cause abdominal pain?
There are dozens of conditions that can cause pain and cramping in the abdomen. Conditions that are sometimes confused with IBD are:7,8
- Stomach ulcers
- Stomach irritation (gastritis)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional disorder. It causes similar symptoms as inflammatory bowel disease, including pain and cramping. However, irritable bowel syndrome does not damage the intestine the way Crohn’s disease does.
What Causes a Stomach Ache?
Stomach problems are common, so your cramps could be caused by a number of different things.
Here are a few of the most common culprits behind an achy stomach:
- Gastritis. Gastritis is another name for inflammation of the stomach lining. It can be caused by a number of things, including bacterial infections, the use of certain drugs, age, or tobacco or alcohol use. Gastritis can cause upper stomach pain, nausea, and a feeling of fullness in your stomach.
- Acid reflux. Acid reflux, also known as gastrointestinal reflux disease, occurs when stomach acid gets backed up into the esophagus. It causes an aching or burning sensation in the stomach and behind the breastbone. Acid reflux can be caused by problems like a hiatal hernia, as well as by eating fatty or spicy foods.
- Lactose intolerance. Do you find yourself doubled over in pain after drinking a glass of milk or eating cheese? You could be lactose intolerant. People with lactose intolerance can’t digest dairy, which leads to stomach pain and other digestive issues.
- Stress. Stress and anxiety can cause physical symptoms, including stomach aches.
Should You Treat Your Stomach Pain at Home?
Most of the time, stomach cramps aren’t a big deal. You can treat them at home without consulting your doctor first.
However, you should call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Pain that doesn’t get better in a few hours.
- Pain that is very intense.
- Vomiting that persists longer than a day or two.
- Bloody or black, tar-like bowel movements.
If you’re not having any of these symptoms, try these home remedies for upset stomach, and you’ll be feeling better in no time.
If you’re suffering from stomach pain, there are plenty of things you can do to get some quick relief.
Try these 16 easy home remedies for upset stomach next time you’re having a bout of indigestion or acid reflux.
You’ll save money and a trip to the doctor, and you’ll probably feel better more quickly, too.