By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It is one of the most common complaints of a child: “my belly hurts.” The problem is belly pain could be the result of anything from too much candy to a serious infection.

There is another issue as well. Abdominal pain is often a sign in a child that they’re not happy with something in their life. Maybe it’s school, maybe it’s a problem with a teacher, and maybe it’s a problem with a parent.

Children don’t really know how to complain about things so what they do is they talk about their belly hurting. The belly hurting could really be an anatomic problem or an illness, but when it’s psychological, you have to really evaluate it and try to figure out what’s going on. It takes time, but it’s worth it.

Finally, there’s also the judgment of every parent. Is the belly pain simply a complaint, or could it be more?