Abdominal Pain In Teenagers: Causes And Symptoms


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Abdominal or stomach pain is common among children and most cases are treatable. Kids up to the age of 11 may suffer from these problems. However, abdominal pain in teenagers is not common and could be a cause for concern. A frequent or recurring pain should be examined and medical help should be sought. MomJunction brings you a list on why these are caused and how to identify them.


1. Bacteria and Virus:

Dangerous virus entering the stomach, irritates the gut. In an attempt to rid the stomach of the virus the body reacts through vomiting or diarrhea. Similarly, bad bacteria cause illnesses such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and strep throat that lead to stomach pain.

2. Constipation:

Lack of fibrous food in the diet leads to constipation, which is one of the most common reasons for a tummy ache.

[ Read: Home Remedies To Treat Constipation In Teens ]

3. Inflammation:

Abdominal pain is the initial stage or sign of medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome appendicitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcers.

4. Food Allergy:

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50 million Americans suffer from some allergy. Certain foods do not suit people and cause gastric distress. Lactose intolerance also causes abdominal pain along with diarrhea and nausea.

5. Appendicitis:

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix. As per the American Academy of Family Physicians, appendicitis affects seven percent of Americans and is one of the most common reasons for children going into emergency abdominal surgery.

Determining the actual cause of abdominal pain is difficult and requires knowledge and experience to diagnose. This becomes more difficult as a kid reaches adolescence when the body undergoes several physical changes. Some kids hit puberty before their peers, and some later. They could experience pain in such cases as well.

Let’s learn about the common reasons behind abdominal pain in teenage girls.

Abdominal Pain In Teenage Girls:

1. Menstrual Pain:

Adolescent girls experience severe abdominal cramps before or during their period. Dr. Pamela J. Murray, chief of adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh tells New York Times: “There is a huge population of girls out there whose quality of life could be better one to two days a month — that’s two to three weeks a year.”

2. Ideal Body Image:

Teenage girls often give in to societal pressure of having an ideal figure and end up developing faulty eating habits. Eating disorders can cause constipation in addition to several other health issues in girls.

[ Read: Teen Body Image Issues ]

3. Pressure On Bladder:

Girls may avoid using public washrooms out of embarrassment or any other reason. As they hold the urge for a long duration, it causes tremendous pressure on the bladder leading to constipation and diarrhea.

Lower Abdominal Pain In Teenage Girls:

  1. Urinary Tract Infection: Urinary tract infection is more common in girls than boys due to the short female urethra which makes the bladder easily accessible to bacteria. Its symptoms include burning while urination, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
  1. Endometriosis: It is the abnormal growth of tissues, which are meant to grow inside the uterus but grow outside. It causes severe pain in the lower abdomen along with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. According to the US National Institute of Health (NIH), about 40 to 60 percent women, having very painful periods, have endometriosis.

Abdominal Pain In Teenage Boys:

1. Testicular Injury:

An unexpected blow to the groin can cause severe pain, as testicles are one of the most sensitive regions in a boy’s body. If the injury is severe, boys could feel sick and vomit.

[ Read: Testicular Pain In Teenagers ]

2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome:

This is one of the most common reasons for abdominal pain. However, the pain is relieved once the person passes gas or poop. This is common among girls and boys.

3. Gallbladder Disease:

Gallbladder disease is the inflammation, infection, stones, or blockage of the gallbladder. It affects teens who are obese, have a family history of the disease, or have inherited any blood problem. Severe pain in the upper abdomen is the most common symptom. This is common among girls and boys.

Lower Abdominal Pain In Teenage Boys:

1. Hernia:

A person suffers from hernia when a part of the intestines is pushed through a weak spot in the abdominal wall. Tremendous pain in the lower abdomen is the most important symptom.

2. Testicular Torsion:

At times abdominal pain could be emanating from the testicular region. Testicular torsion is a condition where the testicles twist by themselves, causing lack of blood supply.

Symptoms That The Pain Is Worrisome:

  • Vomiting, diarrhea and blood in stools
  • Abdominal pain that does not subside even after 24 hours
  • High fever for more than three days
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Loss of appetite and behavioral changes

Parents could overlook this issue as children may use this to bunk responsibilities. If your child has been complaining of abdominal pain for a long time, do take heed and see a doctor.

While we hope that your teens do not suffer from abdominal pain, do let us know your experiences, if any.

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