Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Abdominal Pain in Children Vomiting

Home treatment of vomiting in children with abdominal pain includes hydration and dietary therapy. Those who are able to drink liquids can restore lost water and salt with oral rehydration therapy (ORT).

ORT fluids used in infants include:

  • Infalyte
  • Lytren
  • Naturalyte
  • Pedialyte
  • Rehydralyte

ORT fluids used in older children include:
  • Sports drinks (Gatorade)
  • Broth
  • Dilute fruit juices
  • Flat soda
  • Weak tea with sugar

Strategies for breast-fed infants younger than 6 months:
  • If the infant tolerates breast milk, continue breast-feeding in small amounts very frequently.
  • Provide additional ORT fluids to supplement breast milk.
  • Feed very small amounts every 30-60 minutes, or try giving small amounts more frequently, such as:
    • Children up to 5 kg (11 lb): give 5 ml (1 teaspoon) every 5 minutes
    • Children 5-10 kg (11-22 lb): give 10 ml (2 teaspoons) every 5 minutes
  • Watch for dehydration: dry mouth, decreased urination, dark yellow urine and lack of tears.

Strategies for formula-fed infants younger than 6 months:
  • If the infant tolerates formula, continue to provide small amounts very frequently.
  • Provide additional ORT fluids to supplement formula.
  • Try giving small amounts more frequently, such as:
    • Children up to 5 kg (11 lb): give 5 ml (1 teaspoon) every 5 minutes
    • Children 5-10 kg (11-22 lb): give 10 ml (2 teaspoons) every 5 minutes
  • Watch for dehydration: dry mouth, decreased urination, dark yellow urine and lack of tears.

Strategies for children over 6 months:
  • Provide as much ORT fluids as your child desires.
  • If vomiting occurs, provide small amounts of ORT fluids more frequently:
    • Children 10-20 kg (22-44 lb): 15 ml (1 tablespoon) every 5 minutes
    • Children 20-40 kg (44-88 lb): 22 ml (1 and 1/2 tablespoons) every 5 minutes
    • Children 40 kg (88 lb) and over: 30 ml (2 tablespoons) every 5 minutes
  • Watch for dehydration: dry mouth, decreased urination, dark yellow urine and lack of tears.

Dietary Therapy
Most children with vomiting improve in a few hours and symptoms usually resolve in one day. Once vomiting and nausea resolves, provide bland foods first. If bland foods are tolerated, then you resume a normal diet.

Foods that are easiest to tolerate include:
  • Crackers
  • Oatmeal
  • Jell-O
  • Soft foods
  • Yogurt

Foods to avoid include:
  • Concentrated fruit juices
  • Junk foods
  • Milk products
  • Recently introduced foods
  • Spicy foods

Nonprescription medicines for vomiting should only be used under the direction of your doctor.

Continue to Abdominal Pain in Children Warning Signs

Last Updated: Oct 31, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Abdominal Pain in Children References
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  4. Kaiser S, Finnbogason T, Jorulf HK, et al: Suspected appendicitis in children: diagnosis with contrast-enhanced versus nonenhanced Helical CT. Radiology 2004 May; 231(2): 427-33. [15031433]
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  6. McCollough M, Sharieff GQ. Abdominal pain in children. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2006 Feb;53(1):107-37, vi. Review.[16487787]
  7. Nagurney JT, Brown DF, Chang Y, Sane S, Wang AC, Weiner JB. Use of diagnostic testing in the emergency department for patients presenting with non-traumatic abdominal pain. J Emerg Med. 2003 Nov;25(4):363-71. [14654174]
  8. Warren O, Kinross J, Paraskeva P, Darzi A. Emergency laparoscopy - current best practice. World J Emerg Surg. 2006 Aug 31;1(1):24 [16945124]
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