24 answers

Daughter Constantly Complains of Stomach Ache

Hi moms,

My 3 1/2 year old daughter constantly complains of a stomach ache. I have passed it off as her way of telling me she is hungry or tired or wants attention (as she has a 1 year old little brother)for several months, but now I am starting to get worried that it could really be something that I should address. Could she have low blood sugar? Could it be a real medical problem.

This is what happens almost every day: She will start to act real dumpy and lethargic and start whining. When I ask her what is wrong, she'll say that her tummy hurts, or that she isn't feeling well. In trying to determine the real problem (is she hungry, or tired, or just needing attention) I'll ask if she wants something to eat, or drink. Only occationlly I think is it related to being hungry. Most of the time, if she just has some juice or milk, she will pep back up in 10 to 15 minutes. This is what has led me to think that maybe there is a blood sugar issue or something that I'm not paying attention to. I just don't wat to be one of those moms that thinks she is just doing it for attention, only to find out several months later that she has some real medical problem. By the way, she is having regular bowel movements, so I don't think it is constipation.

Thanks in advance for any advice you have!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Recently my son (9) also went through something similar to this and I was told by a friend to give him lemon juice. I was skeptical but did it anyway and it worked. His stomache acidity was out of wack and that was all he needed. I also know that peppermint and garlic are also good for stomache aches. And there is a lot of research out there about the positive affects of apple cider vinegar.

I hope that helps.

Hi Holly,

Gluten intolerance can create stomach pains. Maybe keep a food log and see what she is reacting to and how long after she eats.


More Answers

I would set up an appointment. In the meantime, I would keep a diary of what she eats and when and when she complains of feeling that way or when you notice the change. It does sound like it could be blood sugar. When I was little, my mom would make me eat some peanut butter (I did it straight, but on something is fine, too) and drink some orange juice. I usually felt better and the protein in the peanut butter kept me feeling good. Also, for my son and me, smaller meals more often help a lot. GL!

I would call the dr and setup an appointment. They can do some blood tests to rule out illness' And if by chance she has low sugar you don't want that to get worse.

I know many times the kids just want to be kids. You know. But as a rule I don't think that act sick if they are not.

An example, I used to get sick when I ate peas, of course mom and grandma and step dad all said it was in my head. You know don't want to eat my greens. lol. When I was 24 I found out I am allergic to peas. So all those years they thought I was trying to get out of eatting peas, I really was getting sick from them. hehe. My grandma feels really bad now. haha.

Good Luck to you

Hi H.,
Have you ever checked if she has allergies to foods.My daughter has tons and we had blood work done when she was a year old because she would get crabby.The doctors can do blood work to see what the baseline looks like and if you need to see an allergist. I hope this helps and gl.

Recently my son (9) also went through something similar to this and I was told by a friend to give him lemon juice. I was skeptical but did it anyway and it worked. His stomache acidity was out of wack and that was all he needed. I also know that peppermint and garlic are also good for stomache aches. And there is a lot of research out there about the positive affects of apple cider vinegar.

I hope that helps.

I agree. Take her to the doctor, especially if she is making the same complaints to Dad. While you are waiting for the appointment, write down what she is eating when and when she is complaining about her tummy and when you are noticing her being lethargic. This information will be important to your doctor. Start keeping track now. Good luck!


In my opinion, its better to be safe than sorry. Like you said, you don't want to let it go only to find that it was something more serious than what you thought. Since you are concerned, I would say to make an appointment with her pediatrician. They can check for all kinds of things. With her being lethargic and as you said, once she gets some juice in her she is fine a little bit later, it may be blood sugar related. I have seen commercials on TV where you can get a free meter to check blood sugar. I actually work in a call center and take calls for that. If I happen to catch a number, I can give it to you to call. The meter is COMPLETELY FREE. Usually there would have to be an official diagnosis of Diabetes to get one but I'm sure some people just say they have to get one.

When your daughter complains about stomach aches, put your ear to her stomach and listen. You know what your stomach feels like and sounds like when it hurts. See if you can find any "noises" in her stomach like yours. Also listen to her stomach when she doesn't complain of pain to see if there is a difference.

See a doctor to run a food panel (they will have to draw blood) for allergies. Have the doctor test for parasites. H. Pilori (sp?) can be found in tap water and will be detected through a stool sample (May have to have a couple of stool samples taken). The stool sample may also show if there is blood in the stool.

Keep a food log/diary all the time and list her condition/mood, such as lethargic, cranky, etc. Maybe there is a link between what she eats and her belly aches/crankyness/etc. Take both the food log & if you notice 'belly sounds' to the doctor.

I have a daugter with digestive problems and we regularly see a Pediatric Gastroenterologist. I believe my daughter's dietary/digestive problems are due to her prematurity.

Bottom line...bring your girl to a doctor.

I would have her checked for a bladder/kidney infection. I went through this with my little girl too. Good luck.

Never speculate when a child complains persistently. Take her in to see her Pediatrician. It may be nothing, kids have a hard time disguishing what is really the problem.
Is she peeing fine? Too frequently, is it yellow, clear? It could be anything from a bladder infection, real tummy bug or nothing at all.
I am not one to run to the Dr over nothing but it is important if it is persistent not to try and figure it out on your own.
Probiotics can help a lot with digestive issues, but take her in first.
My daughter who is seven kept saying her bladder hurt, I took her in finally and it was nothing, but had a thorough checkup to ensure it wasn't something. She had complained for days right above belly button was hurting. On and off and the Dr ran tests, urine analysis and said if she is still complaining in a week to bring her back.

It turns out she was having bowel issues. She wasn't constipated but going more often, since I don't wipe her anymore or she is going to the bathroom herself, I had no idea to even think to ask that. So it was gas, nothing more. She just had been eating a lot of fiber rich foods and going more often.
Better to be safe and take her in then try and figure it out.
Good luck.

I think the best thing is to get her to the dr. It maybe something simple, but it may not be. I am the type of mom that hates running my kids to the dr. for him to just tell me that it's something normal or simple that I could've figured out, but if it's gone on for a few months, it's time! My daughter had similar symptoms and was having regular bm's, but it turned out that she wasn't emptying her bowel all the way. The dr. told me to pick up some Miralax to help her empty it all the way for a while before things got back to normal. It may be as simple as that or it could be something more serious. Don't wait any longer. Good luck.

Hi Holly,

My name is D. Patterson and I am a Wellness consultant and a Certified Weight Management Coach. Most important to state is I am a Mother of 2. My Daughter started complaining of stomach aches at about the same age. Stomach aches are so hard to diagnose in Children. It turns out for my Daughter that I had to diagnose the problem and she has Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance). Usually there will be additional symptoms above and beyond a stomach ache with this disease. I would like to recommend a product that may really help her and others that just suffer from stomach ache and cramping, in addition is very healthy. It helped my Daughter a lot as she was missing on average of 2 or 3 days of school a week. It is called Ultimate Aloe. After It was introduced to her, she rarely had a stomach ache! I can send you some information if you would like. It is a natural ALOE drink, tastes good and has helped many with digestive issues. I also wonder....has she been on any antibiotics in the last year?
My email is ____@____.com - you can also log onto my business website www.marketamerica.com/patterson for additional info.

Hi. I would have an internest check it out. A friend of mine had her daughter doing the same thing. this went on for over a year... Finally all it took was one question "Have you been out of the country or traveling lately?" Bottom line, she had a parrasite. After a few days of a strong antibiotic, her tummy problems were gone and have never been back.
It could be anything but I would see a specialist.

I am hypoglycemic and have the same symptoms when my blood sugar gets low. Since she is so young she may not understand what is going on. I know when it gets to the point where my sugar level is so low I do not feel like eating because it only makes me feel sicker before I feel better. This is where the juice comes in. This adds enough sugar back without making her feel sick. Hypoglycemia is borderline diabetic so you might want to get her checked at the doctor. That's my advice, hope it helps.

If she persistently complains of pains and is lethargic/ whiny or cranky, I'd strongly recommend that you take her to a doctor and have him/her do a thorough check on her and let them know if her behaviour has changed in any other way (e.g. if she is getting colds/coughs more frequently). I really don't mean to scare you but...Friends of ours had a 2 1/2 year old daughter with an aggressive form of kidney cancer. When we asked them how they got it diagnosed, they said that their daughter had complained of a painful tummy (on and off) about a month or so before they really got alarmed and sent her in for medical tests. As she was a really cheery kid and also a real trooper, she was probably suffering more than complaining. Each time she complained, they rubbed some warm vicks on her tummy and the pain would go away. Other than the tummy pains, she had no other symptoms indicating that things could more serious than a normal tummy upset. I hope however that things are not at all serious for your duaghter. Good luck!

My daughter did this at exactly the same age (and her brother was the same age as your son). I worried too, and mentioned it a couple of times to our dr. He seemed to think it was an attention thing. His recommendation was to give her a Tums and see how she reacted. He said the calcium in the Tums was actually good for her (so no harm there). Without fail every time I gave her a Tums, her tummy ache went away within no time. Eventually the frequency in which she claimed she had a tummy ache diminished.

Hi H.,

You might have her checked for celiac disease. My niece is 6 years old and was doing the same thing, saying that her stomach hurt all the time. My sister-in-law took her to the doctor and they couldnt figure it out. She started doing some research on her own and took her back to the doctor and found that she has celiac disease. They have had to cut out all dairy, gluten and chocolate out of her diet. Sometimes when they are tested for this disease, I have heard that the results can come out negative even if they have it. You could start by just cutting out gluten out of her diet first and then dairy so you can pinpoint what it is. Good luck!

Hi Holly,

Gluten intolerance can create stomach pains. Maybe keep a food log and see what she is reacting to and how long after she eats.


I second the idea for lemon juice and vinegar. I also suggest yogurt (the good kind with live cultures and no color and sugar additives), or just a liquid acidolphilus from the health food store. Best wishes!

Stomach ache/nausea can be a symptom of deydration. So can lethargy. And she perks up after having something to drink. Try making sure that she gets plenty of water throughout the day. When/if she starts acting droopy, offer her water (only a little at a time though) and see if that helps. (Another indication is the color of her urine. Light, like dilute lemonade, is normal. Dark, like apple juice, is a sign that she is dehydrated. And frequency can give another sign - blood sugar issues generally causes lots of urinary output, while dehdryation causes reduced output.

If this doesn't work within a day or two, I would definitely call the doctor and rule out anything else.

Hi H.

I would definitely take her to the doctor. The little guy across the street suffered the same type of stuff and not only did he have diabetes but he also has ciliac (spelling) disease the one where you cant have wheat products. It is actually very common now adays. You know better then anyone about your child so I would follow up just to make sure.

My neighbors daughter was complaining of the same thing for as long as I have known her. You may want to have a checkup done. Her stomach problems ended up being backed up bowels all the way to the top of her abdomin. Just a suggestion, Good Luck!

Hi H., You said your DD is regular as far as BM's but don't rule out constipation yet. I deal with that in my girls. They can be as regular as the sun coming up and still have awkward stools. I recently was told of a "Bee" clinic @ TCH and they help with "poop and pee" issues. We are signing my daughter up for her potty training issues but they will start with an xray of her bowels to see how much she actually has in there. My advise is to start with your pediatrician but go prepared. Before I figured it out I had to say, "could it be this, could it be that?" and be in control of what it is. Not all docs treat stomach pain the same. Good luck to you and I hope it gets better soon.

Don't put off seeing the doctor. My son has always complained but I wrote it off as anxiety or just not wanting to go to school. He ended up having a lactose problem along with being blocked up and constipated from not being able to digest things correctly. we also found some anxiety issues but fixing the lactose problem by avoiding dairy and taking lactaids has certainly improved the other issues. Most food allergies can be tested relatively easily so I wouldn't hesitate to call your doctor.

Good Luck

My 8 year old was the same way so I took her in twice. The doctor found on our second visit with an x-ray that she had poop in both sides of her stomach. My daughter is as regular as they come. She went every day and some times a couple of times a day. We are now dealing with night 3 of doing several things. First citrate magnesium then miralax, along with all liquid diet now today we did citrate magnesium, delcolax and suppository. Not going like she should be. tomorrow we will probably be going back in. Hope this helps

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