Gas can be incredibly painful, sending many parents to the emergency room worried about the sharp and persistent nature of their child’s belly pain. These pains occur when gas gets trapped or doesn’t move well through your digestive system. While passing gas is a normal part of everyone’s day, gas pains are pretty common. And it can be especially painful for children. Your best defense against a gassy child is to know the main causes and the best gas relief options for children.
What causes gas and gas pain?
Gas is a natural part of digestion. Although taboo to talk about, we all have gas traveling through our intestines throughout the day. Most of the time the gas resolves naturally, or we pass it through burping or passing gas. However, sometimes this gas can get trapped and cause extreme pain.
Gas can be incredibly painful, sending many parents to the emergency room worried about the sharp and persistent nature of their child’s belly pain. So it important to break down what can be causing your child’s gas pain, how to prevent gas, and the best gas relief available for children.
How do I know my child’s abdominal pain is gas?
Many factors help doctors determine the cause of abdominal pain – your child’s age, how long your child has had belly pain, the presence or absence of a fever, and other symptoms. If your child’s pain is persistent in nature, have him or her evaluated by their pediatrician.
However, there are certain characteristics of gas pain that might help to pinpoint it as the culprit. Gas pains are typically sharp in nature and can last for long periods of time. The pain is typically associated with a cramping, abdominal distention, and a feeling of fullness. Your child might say they feel like there are knots or pressure in their belly.
Unlike with gastritis, which typically causes pain in the mid/upper abdomen, gas pains can cause pain throughout the abdomen. Many times, children will localize the pain around their belly button or lower abdomen. Your child might also pass gas or burp.
Do certain foods make my child’s gas worse?
Absolutely!! Summer time is all about BBQs, late night s’mores, and bug juice. Although fun, these classic summer foods are notorious for causing excess gas and abdominal pain in children. Below are some of the common foods that can lead to gas build up and abdominal pain.
What is a BBQ without an ice-cream sundae? Unfortunately, dairy can be difficult to digest, leading to excessive gas production and gas pain.
2. Fizzy Drinks
The bubbles in sodas and other carbonated drinks produce excess air, which can be difficult to break down naturally, causing pain and discomfort.
3. High Fiber Foods
While high fiber is good for regularity, digesting high fiber foods can be difficult, especially for little tummies. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, bananas, apples, and other raw fruits and vegetables can cause extra gas and possibly pain and discomfort.
4. Pre-Packaged Foods
Chips and dips are perfect appetizers at BBQs, but eating too many pre-packaged foods can upset your little one’s stomach. The high sodium content in these foods can cause bloating and discomfort.
5. High Fat and Fried Foods
Potato chips, potato salad, french fries, fried chicken nuggets, and burgers all have something in common – higher fat content. These often greasy foods can slow the digestive process down, causing bloating, gas pains, and discomfort.
What are the best gas relief options for children?
I think it is so important to kids to enjoy their time off, get messy, stay up late, and create amazing summer memories. However, if you child is suffering with abdominal pain, it is very important to pay attention to what they are eating and make sure they eat foods that don’t cause gas.
There are several options for gas relief in children that can be tried from the comfort of your home. Some of my top suggestions include:
1. Gas Relief Medications for Children
If you think your child is suffering from gas pain, try Children’s Mylicon. Mylicon recently released a children’s line that combines an antacid and antigas to treat gas, bloating, and indigestion in one chewable tablet. I love that it can quickly soothe tummy aches in kids due to bloating and gas and also fight pain from acid indigestion at the same time.
This over-the-counter (OTC) medication contains simethicone, which breaks down large gas bubbles into smaller ones that are easier and less painful for little tummies. It is the only multi-symptom product available for upset tummies for kids ages 2-11!
If you’ve tried Mylicon, but your child’s pain continues, you should have them evaluated by a doctor.
2. Diet Change
Diet is key when trying to alleviate painful and persistent gas. There are certain foods that can exacerbate your child’s symptoms (see list above). Keeping a food diary for your child may help you pinpoint which foods are triggers for your child’s gas pains. If your child seems to experience gas pains after eating a certain food, try eliminating that food from their diet for a while to see if the pains fade or persist.
3. Drink Lots of Water
Another important factor that parents often miss is fluid intake. With all the fun summer activities, it is easy for our children to forget to drink. This can lead to poor digestion and eventually constipation, which often causes gas pains in children.
First, deal with the pain and then go directly to the source by treating the constipation. Diet and fluid intake will be your best remedy for warding off constipation. Never start your child on a laxative without the guidance of a pediatrician. Your doctor may also perform labs and imaging to create a treatment plan that is best for your child.
If at any time your child is experiencing persistent or worsening abdominal pain, vomiting, or fever, have them evaluated immediately.
4. Exercise and Massage
When your child moves their body around they can release built up gas. Simply going for a walk or having an after dinner dance-off can help get your child’s digestive tract going to expel excess gas.
A gentle massage on an aching belly can also help get gas moving around and out of your child’s body.
When should I be worried that this is more than gas pain?
While OTC medications may help tremendously with tummy aches, there are many things that can cause belly pain in children, some benign and some more serious. If these gas relief methods for children aren’t helping or if the pain is progressive in nature, it is important to have your child evaluated by their pediatrician.
In addition, if they have associated symptoms such as fever, vomiting, extreme diarrhea, or any other clinical signs, have them seen by a doctor.
Abdominal pain is no fun at a minimum and possibly something that needs to be evaluated by a doctor. But with a few tweaks to your summer fun, like making healthier choices at BBQs and upping the fluid intake, you can hopefully avoid the pains of excess gas.
We are proud ambassadors of Mylicon! *This post is sponsored by Mylicon but all opinions are absolutely my own.