Stomach illnesses found amongst children
Dr. Umm-e-Saarib Attariyyah
Children can suffer from different stomach related illnesses that not only affect their day-to-day life but can negatively impact growth and cause them to be below a healthy weight for their age.
Here are some brief explanations to some common illnesses:
1. Causes of abdominal pain
If a child experiences stomach pain due to gastroesophageal reflux, the child may repeatedly attempt to lie on the stomach. If young children constantly complain about stomach pains, parents should take note of when the pain occurs, which part of the stomach hurts, and if the child constantly cries, including in the night. These indicators are the signs of stomach pain. Vomiting, snorting when breathing and having a persistent cough are also signs of acid reflux.
There is a greater level of acidity in some foods, especially in junk foods and drinks that are caffeinated. Soft drinks, chocolate, coffee, tea, soda, spicy crisps and high-fat foods are just some examples. As children find it more difficult to digest certain foods, they are prone to suffer from acid reflux. Breastfeeding women should refrain from consuming foods and drinks that will lead the milk to contain harmful substances. According to research, 25% of children who experience stomach pains do so because of an illness. The remaining percentage may experience stomach pains due to fear, stress and weakness of the nervous system. Hence, parents should keep their children away from things or places that induce fear. You should take your children with you when going out. Give them peace of mind, because when children feel in despair or become worried, it causes a lot of strain on the nerves. This is because there is a reduction of blood in the network of blood vessels around the navel. Therefore, children experience stomach pain when they are stressed.
2. Constipation and its causes
Constipation is when stool becomes hard, making it difficult to empty the bowels. Constipation amongst children who are nursed by their mother is rare compared to children who are formula-fed. Constipation is more common amongst children who drink powdered milk.
Signs of constipation
* Stomach pains
* Bloated stomach
* Intense pain and difficulty when defecating
* Bleeding when emptying the bowels
Feed your children fruits instead of giving them fruit juice. Seasonal fruits should be used in particular as they reduce constipation. Keep your children away from takeaway food. Feed your children roti made from whole wheat flour because this contains a high amount of fibre. Ensure your children get into the habit of eating vegetables. If a child aged above one is suffering from long-term constipation, then give less milk and instead feed the child roti, bread, cucumber or gurr (unrefined brown sugar) with paratha made of desi ghee.
In the morning, mix almond oil, olive oil or ispaghol husk in milk or yoghurt and feed it to your child. Only take these things or any other medication after consulting your doctor.
Massaging a small child’s belly before giving them a bath is very beneficial for the child’s health and prevents constipation and excessive gas. The food a mother eats also affects the health of the child. Therefore, mothers should eat nutritious foods to stay in good health. Figs, dried apricots, vegetables, fruit and water should be consumed in good amounts.
Just as exercising benefits elders, it can also benefit young children by preventing constipation. Moving a child’s legs in a bike-riding motion will make it easy for the child to empty the bowels.
Advice to parents
Take your child to see a doctor if your child continuously experiences stomach pains, suddenly wakes up from sleep and starts crying, or suddenly starts crying whilst playing. Pay close attention to your child.
We pray to Allah Almighty that He keeps us safe from stomach-related illnesses and all other diseases.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم