20 answers

Chronic Stomach Aches and Vomiting in 6-Year-old

I am seeking ideas for what could be wrong with my 6-year-old son. For the past two and half months he has complained a lot of stomach pain. Usually he blames it on gas or tells us within a few minutes that it has passed. I would blow it off to attention seeking behavior except that on 4 different occasions he has vomited. The vomiting has always been associated with a bowel movement. The past two times it has occurred during the early morning hours (about 5:30 a.m.). He has been asleep and woke up needing to poop. After the bowel movement he says his stomach hurts and within minutes he vomits. It happened again this morning. The stomach pain continued for about an hour, though much less intense, and completely vanished after a second bowel movement. He has been perfectly normal ever since.

My husband and I naturally have thought it was a touch of a stomach virus before, but now that it has happened twice early in the morning and then he's completely normal afterward is making us concerned. I should give you a bit of history with this. I have irritable bowel syndrome which gives me stomach aches on occasion, but I never vomit from it. My mother-in-law has had stomach issues most of her life and has had her large intestine completely removed, but neither my husband or I know what has caused that or if she had issues as a child. We are trying to reach her. My son has also had some difficulty with his best friend at school this year. His friend is being very bossy and saying things like he won't be his friend anymore if my son doesn't do what he says. I know it is bothering my son, but I can't imagine why he would wake up in the night and get sick. He shouldn't be thinking about that when he's sleeping and getting upset to the point of sickness, right? My son is also a perfectionist and fears doing anything wrong. He is also highly gifted (in the top .1 % on intelligence testing) and has food allergies - could these things contribute to a stomach issue?

Does anyone have any idea what might be going on? Has anyone else gone through anything like this? It just seems strange and my husband and I are both getting quite concerned about it.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My son vomits when he is irregular- if he has been constipated for a few days- he may vomit then poop too- we eat lots of pears- and drink lots of pear juice to avoid this.


I would rule out a genetic stomach disorder or food allergies at the doctor's office. My oldest daughter sometimes has stomach problems when she is nervous or excited. Of her 7 birthdays, she has thrown up on 4 of them. She also gets very nauseated right before vacation. It could also be stress related, but I would see a doctor anyway.

Good luck,

More Answers

You need to take your son to the doctor, especially if this had occurred more than once. Vomiting after a BM is NOT NORMAL. GET OFF OF YOUR COMPUTER AND SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION...NOW!!!

2 moms found this helpful

J. -- Take him to his doctor!


1 mom found this helpful

take him to the doctor and have them start to figure out what the real issue is.

1 mom found this helpful


I would rule out a genetic stomach disorder or food allergies at the doctor's office. My oldest daughter sometimes has stomach problems when she is nervous or excited. Of her 7 birthdays, she has thrown up on 4 of them. She also gets very nauseated right before vacation. It could also be stress related, but I would see a doctor anyway.

Good luck,

Hi J.! Even at the beginning of your post I was wondering about stress. Every body processes stress differently. Even waking from a deep sleep to use the bathroom or be sick can be a part of the body trying to release stress.
I do think you should bring him to the doctor. A counselor might help too, if this *is* stress related.
I never thought that I was a "stressed out" person. I did find, though, that stress caused me to throw up on occasion. I also had stomach aches to the point of nearly passing out. So, even though I had no idea just how stressed I was, my body did know.
I hope you find a solution soon! I think it's wonderful that you are so sensitive to your son's needs!

This may sound like a funny question, but does your son refuse to use the restroom at school? What I believe is going on is 2 things...first the stomach ache may be that he is holding it all day because he does not want to use the restroom at school (maybe b/c of germs or he may just not want to miss anything in class)...second, since he is a perfectionist, he may be causing himself undue pressure (mentally)and they are manifesting themselves at night in his dreams. The pressure can be anything, for example a quiz, relationships with other kids, a class he does not like (for me it was gym). Just ask him a lot of questions about school...does this happen as badly on the weekends or mostly on school days? However, I still think you should take him to a GI doctor to make sure hhe is okay!

Hi J.,

I have had issues with Crohns and stomach problems for most of my life.

Our son had that happen to him when he was little. I don't remember how long ago (he's 21 now) but he was about 8 or 9ish.

He would throw up everytime after he ate, and his stomach wa in intense pain. We ended up taking him to the emengency room and found out that he had a blocked intestine. Nothing wa going in or out. So that oculd be one thing.

It could be a number of things, but I really wouldn't wait to take him to the docotr. It is best to learn what's going on now, vs paying the price later.

Your family is in my prayers.


Hi J.-

I would check to see if your son has a wheat/gluten intolerance. Check out the celiac.com web site. His symptoms sound similar to a lot of kids out there. They can do a blood test to check for celiacs disease. This is one disease that is controlled by diet (no wheat or gluten).

We've dealt with chronic constipation for 5+ years and now are happily gluten-free!

I agree that it is time to see the doctor. Something you might look into is eosinophilic gastroenteritis. My son has eosinophilic esophagitis and it is related to food allergies, stomach pains, GERD, etc. We caught his very young and he doesn't have much damage to his digestive system, but over time if it is not treated it could start showing symptoms that are not comfortable for these kids and cause damage to their system. The unfortunate part is that to diagnose they have to put them under for endoscopies. I hope this isn't what you are dealing with, but I wouldn't let anything with your son's digestive tract go undiagnosed. It could cause more problems for him down the road. Good luck!

If there are intestinal problems in the family I'd check to see if maybe he's lactose intolerant or if there's maybe a wheat/gluten allergy or sensitivity. It is all related to bowels and stomach pain. Sometimes people aren't diagnosed until adulthood.
I could be really off here, but that's where I'd start. If you think it is just emotional, really sit down and talk about it or get some counseling. He sounds very sensitive and concerned if that's the case. Poor little guy. Good luck.

What did his doctor say about it? I mean it's been 2 1/2 months right? I'm sure you've taken him to the doctor by now. Good luck and prayers for your son.

<<He shouldn't be thinking about that when he's sleeping and getting upset to the point of sickness, right? My son is also a perfectionist and fears doing anything wrong.>>

I'm guessing your son is dealing with some pretty high-level anxiety, but I would take him to a doctor to rule out anything physical. Vomiting and having a BM at pretty much the same time is NOT healthy.

If a physical ailment is ruled out, please look into ways to help him cope: counseling, yoga, meditation...

We had the same issue with my 7 year old last year. I got calls from the school nurse everyday because he had a stomach ache. He threw up once in class. He never wanted to get on the bus. I felt like I was going nuts. I couldnt figure it out. I knew it was anxiety about something but he would tell us what. We had him to talk to the social worker. Nothing helped. Once summer hit, everything just diasppeared. This year he has a fun, loving wonderful teacher. Last years wasnt the greatest (she didnt want to be there/had just had a baby) We havent had any problems this year so far.(knock on wood) One thing that did help a little was the social worker gave him a "worry stone" so that if he was feeling anxious he could rub that to take the worry away. I would see if you can have him talk to the school social worker and maybe they can talk it out of him. Is there an option of moving him to another classroom? Maybe him and the kids or teacher don't go together well? I know how frustrating this is. I hope you can find the help you need.

He could have appendisitis. I would have a doctor check for this.

My daughter, now 11, has had some similar issues with vomiting and stomach pain. I had broght her to the dr and they said nervous stomach. Later on in life (she was 7) we were in a car accident and started seeing a chiropractor. When he did his initial exam he had mentioned that part of her back that was "way" out deals with stomach acid. I had not mentioned the stomach pains and problems to him prior to the exam. He said that her stomach was probably producing too much acid. After some adjustments she is MUCH better. I also know to get food into her stomach now when she starts to feel that way!

So your child is stressed out and has food allergies. I would say that sounds like a bad combo!

I would strongly suggest seeing his doctor about this. It could be that he's developing even more allergies. Also, just because he's 6 years old it doesn't mean he won't think about how he's being treated. It could be that he's not able to process his feelings resulting in a physical symptom.

Speak to his doctor. Both you and your husband are concerned... I think it's time to seek professional help. If there's nothing physically wrong with him, your pediatrician could recommend a good counselor to address his difficulties at school with his friends.

Good luck! I know it's no fun watching our children suffer.

Does your son have regular bowel movements? My nephew is 4 years old and he gets so constipated that he would throw up and complain that his tummy hurt. He has since been to the doctor and they give him a spoonful of something every day...Not sure what it is, but I would certainly recommend taking him to the doctor and try to keep track of if he is pooping regularly. It definitely could be triggered by stress or food to, who knows. Your son will be in my prayers, I know that's got to be miserable.

To me it sound like it might be a combination of things causing these symptoms. While it could be a virus, the fact that it has been recurring, and he doesn't seem to have any other symptoms such as fever, or achiness, rash, or other illness related symptoms, it seems it might be something more chronic developing.

Children this young can suffer from stress related gastrointestinal problems..even ulcers. It sounds like stress could be a factor in his stomach problems, and they might be manifesting themselves with irritable bowel type symptoms.

My youngest often suffers from gastrointestinal issues... and has vomitted if he gets too constipated. He's always better after drinking lots of fluids and eating a natural laxative like fresh fruit or dried fruit like raisins and plums. This helps get things regular in a non-harsh way such as with over the counter laxatives which are usually too strong for kids.

Since you say you suffer from this condition (IBS), it's very likely he does too. It is hereditary, and you probably also know irritable bowel symptoms or syndrome can mean for some people experiencing just diareah or just constipation. In others it can mean in a given time period experiencing intermittently both diarreah and/or the next wave of problems being constipation.

While this can be hereditary, some people can develope irritable bowel syndrome from diet choices such as spicy foods, allergies or sensitivities to food, or too much or too little roughage, and lastly even stress.

I'd say if you haven't already, go to a doctor for a second opininion and see what they recommend to do for a child with these types of issues.

In the interim, encourage him to talk about anything that may be causing him stress such as the situation with his friend and encourage him to drink more fluids and eat some foods that will help keep him regular.

This could be something different than you might suspect. My daughter used to get a stomachache and throw up at night too. It turned out that she had environmental allergies ( your son has food allergies so that makes sense) and the stomach ache was the post nasal drip that she swallowed when lying down and gave her a sour tummy. Is the vomit very mucusy? It may be just a coincidence that it comes after his morning bowel movement. Something to think about. Ragweed has been very high for the last 2 months so maybe thats it. Good luck

My son vomits when he is irregular- if he has been constipated for a few days- he may vomit then poop too- we eat lots of pears- and drink lots of pear juice to avoid this.

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