Psychological Cause Of Stomach Pain

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When an adult says they have abdominal pain the diagnosis can vary widely. As physicians we worry about everything from the so called acute abdomen -things like gallbladder or appendix problems – to a stomach virus and everything in between.

The physical examination and labs (even CT scans and MRIs) help us. But in kids there is often a cause that many people don’t normally think about.

There is often a psychological cause to abdominal pain.

Stress and anxiety can cause the pain because kids don’t always express what is wrong with them. We are especially concerned about this when there is so called chronic abdominal pain –pain that can last for days and even weeks.

Certainly, abdominal pain always needs to be taken seriously and you can’t always point to anxiety and stress, but it is worth thinking about.

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