“Mom, my stomach hurts.”
My daughter tells me this almost every night at the same time. She feels fine all day but when it’s bedtime and I’m turning down the lights, her stomach hurts.
Nighttime is when many kids anxiety intensifies. It’s dark, they’re alone, there are no distractions…
We have worked together to conquer her anxiety and she knows I will remind her that her stomach is actually just fine and it’s just her worry.
My son on the other hand, used to tell me his stomach hurt every morning before school. He had separation anxiety and didn’t want to be away from me.
Of course, instead of telling me that, he just said his stomach hurt.
Why do kids say their stomach hurts?
Well, it’s because their stomach actually hurts.
The stomach is home to the enteric nervous system and is even often called your second brain. Big nerves and anxiousness create a real sensation in the belly area.
It makes for quite a cycle because as the anxiety creates a stomach ache, a stomach ache causes even more anxiety and it continues on.
One study discovered that more than half, or 51 percent of people surveyed who experienced stomach pains as children ended up with some type of anxiety disorder sometime in their lives.
The most important thing to remember about kids that often complain of stomach aches (assuming you have ruled out any real stomach issues) is that they are not making it up. They are not lying or doing it for attention. They’re body is taking their anxiety and manifesting it right in the pit of their stomach.
Handling Kids Anxiety
There are many different approaches to conquering kids anxiety. I’m going to leave several resources here for you, but what seemed to have the biggest impact on my children was a simple $13 workbook from Amazon called, What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kids Guide To Overcoming Anxiety.
More Kids Anxiety Resources
- I partnered with the creator to give you guys a special discount. It cuts the price all the way down to $97. You can only get this price through my link. For the cost of one therapy session you can get everything you need to help your anxious child. It is so, so good.
22 Phrases To Help Calm A Worried Kid
2 Hidden Signs of Anxiety In Kids You Probably Missed
Worry Eaters, these plush dolls where children are invited to write or draw their worries and place them in the Worry Eater’s mouth, so that the Worry Eater can hold onto them.
Do you worry, too? Check out the 21 Day Anxiety Challenge.
Liz is a just a mom trying to keep it real about how little she sleeps, how often she gets puked on and how much she loves them. You can find her here every day writing about real-mom moments.
I have been having issues with my 6 year old waking up with a stomach ache and throwing up. No fever or anything fine after awhile could this be anxiety?
Mine too.. he’s 6 yrs old as well. He right now as we speak has a stomach ache and last night ended up making himself throw up. It happens often😭 This article makes sense. I was divorced 3 yrs ago , both his father and I have new lives, I’m expecting a baby in a month as well.
I worked in the school district and would see kids regurgitate for sensory needs. Encourage him to take deep breathes and name 3 things he hears, sees and smell.
This is exactly what I do for my daughter. Switches the focus to something else. I have to remind her adult problems/kid problems. She has grown so much this past year when it comes to this topic.
Crystal Richard says
Have you ruled out Celiac Disease.
Parents MUST check this out! My daughter complained of her “stomach hurting” for a few years, and the doctors kept telling me and her it was anxiety. I finally decided to take her to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where they did extensive blood work and an endoscopy. My daughter was diagnosed with Celiac’s disease! She is now Gluten free and feeling SO MUCH better! We need to advocate for our children if their doctors do not listen!!
I’m so glad you wrote this because my daughter too has been having stomach issues for a few years. Cut out dairy for a while, but never gluten. Chop is actually where we go, so I’m going to look into this ASAP.
Yes! My daughter has complained for awhile now of her stomach hurting right after she eats! We are scheduled for an endoscopy the 21st… hoping to find our answers soon! I do know she does have anxiety BUT I want to rule out everything else before we figure out if it is in fact just the anxiety
Tammy Kay says
I agree! Same thing has happened to my 10 year old daughter. She has been dealing with her stomach hurting for the past 6 months and we were told it could be anxiety or a bad stomach virus that may take awhile to get out of her system! After several blood tests and being told everything looked fine, except that it showed she was borderline anemic and not to worry~because that could just be due to her not eating well! We knew something wasn’t right with the symptoms she would describe to us and there had to be a reason why! We finally talked our Doctor into referring us to a Childrens Gastrolalogist and after running the correct blood work this time, we found out she could have Celiac Disease and she is now scheduled for an endoscopy in a few days to reconfirm it. You and only you knows your child the best and if they tell you somethings wrong and doesn’t feel right about their body, listen to them and be their #1 Advocate, keep going until you get the answers your looking for! Our journey is not done yet and we’ll keep at it, as long as it takes!
The problem with doctor’s and stomach issues is three tests are expensive. At 11 my son became so weak and lethargic and complained of stomach problems. When I asked the doctor to test for celiac she asked if we had family with it because out was an expensive test. When I said I had cousins with it she finally tested him. Turns ought he had Chrons instead of celiac.
I am afraid my grandson has this issue,. His mom and dad are divorced which was fine at first. His dad remarried, had another child and now my grandson never wants to go there on his weekends,. It is so sad, he says he doesn’t feel he belongs there. He complains with a stomachache all the time.
I would make sure that this is not due to reflux issues, my son does this also… however he has reflux which for him is stress induced
My 9 year old neice who I’ve raised since she was 3 years old has complained of stomach pains and nausea and acid reflux ever since I can remember. She and her 15 year old sister were taken from my sister and given to me 7 years ago. They both suffer from anxiety and abandonment issues. My 9 year old has acid reflux as well. She had an upper GI which showed nothing abnormal. She also suffers from severe migraines which her neurologist informed me where a symptom of the acid reflux. She takes Zantac daily which I can’t stand. But without out it she’s miserable. Does your son experience migraines with his acid reflux?
I have clinical anxiety and panic attacks.
I throw up and sometimes I can even get a low grade fever.
How is your child after they throw up? How long does their episodes last?
If he/she returns to their normal self, it could very likely be anxiety/panic.
It’s a tough world full of so much pressure for our babies.
After years of doctors I would try acupuncture, counseling, even get in with naturepaths, CBD for children, lavender oil pills. Ect. Western medicine hand out powerful medications if that’s a direction you would be comfortable with. I like natural, but I myself have been great ful for Western medicine relief also. I use both!
I hope you and your family well on this journey!
Miss Been There says
YES!! I had the chronic stomachache every day with vomiting when i started middle school. School and doctors told my parents I was just a spoiled brat that was throwing a tantrum about going to school. In time…at 19, I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and OCD and started a medicine plan to manage the chemical imbalance. It’s not just kids being kids, please hear them out.
Miss Beenthere, my daughter has had this since 5th grade and now 26. Calming techniques and natural remidies aren’t working any longer. Hoping she would grow out. If you don’t mind me asking, what medication regime worked for you??
Jamie L says
Have you addressed gut health with her? This doctor has tons of great info on how what we eat and our gut health effects our mental health and how to fix it. She successfully reverses depression and anxiety with supplements and diet, but there are plenty of other doctors who approach mental health the same way. https://kellybroganmd.com/
I agree. We had a similar issue with our son. A mild anti depressant was a game changer. It gave him his life back.
Fix his diet, he probably does not need prescription drugs. They just mask the root of whatever the real problem is. Cut out dairy, gmo, and chemical/hormone laced foods. Maybe even try CBD oil. Rx drugs will only worsen the problem in the long term, I promise you that.
I’m sorry but don’t hate on people trying to help their kids, some of these meds have very low side effects, and do work well. Each to their own!
What an awful, hateful comment! That’s like telling a type 1 diabetic that they don’t need insulin, they should just control their diet. Shame on you.
Not true; everyone is different and homeopathy is not medicine. I’ve seen kids who had mild meds prescribed and their lives were much improved. Don’t advise parents to go your homeopathic route…. they need science-based support .
Isabelle Madison says
When I was young I used to throw a huge fit until the point where I was hyperventalating and I would throw up, I would check with a doctor but I think it is highly possible that it is stress.
Liz Nieman says
Is it happening on school days? If so, that would be a very real possibility. If it goes on for a long period of time with no other symptoms I would seriously consider it.
I have 4 children ranging from 19 years to 8 years. One without anxiety and 2 with anxiety and we thought maybe our youngest has anxiety as well when she started randomly vomiting at night. It was always at night. There was no temp no complaints before or after the episode. At about the age of 4 we found out she has cyclic vomiting. We have since found a few other triggers like Anesthesia, stomach viruses and a few meds. So the stomach tells us many things but at the same time super confusing. You know your children best! If you don’t like what the doctor says you take your child to someone else who can help you. We were told in the beginning of our adventure with our sone with anxiety and ADD that he didn’t have anxiety it was ADD only. We knew in our hearts something more was happening for him. We saw a few people befor our sons symptoms clicked with this one doctor. He has been awesome in helping us with the resources that are available for him. We are also lucky enough to live in an area where the school has been awesome in helping us. They have programs in place for kiddos just like mine. Don’t be afraid of what you hear from these people when looking for help. Remember you know your child best and are the one who needs to advocate for them. If you don’t like or believe the doctors are correct in the diagnosis please move on. It’s a fine line to walk also in doing that. You want to give the doctor ample time to diagnose and follow through with the requests they make but don’t stay too long. If you don’t move forward in a reasonable amount of time move on. You child grows so fast and the sooner you can get resources in place for them the better. Hang in there you got this.
Absolutely it could. Get him checked to make sure it’s nothing physical and, if it’s not, it’s very likely that it’s anxiety. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder at 18 after over a decade of being sick to my stomach and vomiting because of my anxiety. At the time my doctors said I was just being a hypochondriac and I’m still frustrated that I didn’t get treatment until I was older because they didn’t care to look into it more. Please advocate for your child!
Tammy Bryson says
My daughter used to do the same in highschool. She would claim it was because she could sleep the night before. After convincing me it was impossible for her to be pregnant, I took her to several doctors. Her GP would not prescribe sleep meds and never even brought up anxiety or mental health. I took her to a gastroenterologist who tried to convince me she had IBS. I questioned how IBS could cause vomiting. She snarkily told me IBS could present as a headache if it wanted to. I wish I had an inkling it could be anxiety. It makes me so sad that she suffered all those years with no help. She’s an adult now but if I had known, I would have gotten her the tools she needed at the time.
It very well could be. When my husbands anxiety is spiked he does this exact same thing and he has zero control over it. Also ends up feelimg fine later on in the day.
When my son was 7, and under a lot of stress, he was throwing up after almost every meal. It turned out to be constipation. He was so blocked up the food had nowhere else to go. I suspect the anxiety is what led to the constipation. It’s something else you might check on.
My 6 year old sons anxiety has stemmed directly off of my stress levels since he was 4. Every holiday, irritation with life, frustration with a conversation/event that I experience around him will throw him into an anxiety attack with a stomach ache, hyperventilating, and asmatic like coughing. I’m not sure if I should wait it out and see if he grows out of it or get him counseling.
Kelly McManama says
Counseling , as an adult with severe anxiety I wish I knew as a kid that’s what it was and someone would have got me help.
Quentin S says
Same here. It was the turning point in my life
My 9 year old daughter is the same way. She has been this way since she was little because her biological father and I split when she was 2 and he has not been in her life since. She has been very attached to me since she was born but even worse as she got older and I did not realize her stomach pains were anxiety. It all makes since now. I have extreme anxiety and depression and when I cant control my anxiety it effects her or even when she knows ahead of time that she is staying away from me on the weekend she will stress out and her stomach will hurt. The only thing that we have found that makes her feel better at night when her stomach hurts is she will lay in the bathtub for a short time and it makes her all better.
May God bless her but u should try talking to her what gives her so much anxiety shes going to come back after weekends . U should look into this why she loathes the weekend so much even if shes with her father it should still b fun time for her
My son complained of this for three days in a row last week and a bath made his stomach feel better. I’m so sad to learn that my 8 year old could have anxiety. . .
I would try counseling. My son had the same symptoms at 5 years old and we thought he would “grow out of it” and that it was a phase. He is now 16 and still deals with chronic panic attacks and anxiety. We first began counseling when he was 10 because the anxiety and panic attacks were increasing. Once you find the right counselor it can be a huge help.
My 3 year old daughter complains of her stomach hurting mostly at night time and gets very irritble,cranky. Could this possibly be anxiety?
Try letting her lay in the bathtub when she says her stomach hurts. My daughter has been saying her stomach hurts since she was about 3 and I had all kinds of tests ran on her and they could never kind anything. So I figured if her getting in the bathtub for 5 to 10 mins and just laying there made her belly feel better to her then that’s what we will do. She has been doing that now for about 4 or 5 years.
Lana Hassell says
Samatha, is there any way at all that you would answer me if I put my email address in a reply ?
Ladies: Same scenario: A little girl who complains every night of a very bad tummy ache, very nervous about going to bed, (she has her own bedroom), read a book, have another glass of water, etc. Her sister is 5 years older and has own bedroom. Her brother is 6 years older and has his own bedroom. Take her to the doctor, run tests, cannot find anything wrong. She is the baby my baby, what is WRONG???? I found out when she was a Junior in High School.!. I thought they would have to either bury me from me having a heart attack or visit me in prison because I had killed someone. Her half-brother at the age of 12 had raped her (she was 6) and continued to do so whenever he wanted to do so. He was able to control her because he knew she was the apple of her daddy’s eye. He told her that if she told anyone, their daddy would kill him and the police would put their daddy in prison and she would not ever get to see her daddy again. So she didn’t tell. He grew up and he is consistently in jail with no help or contact from us. When I confronted him about it after she told me, he said he was “just playing doctor”. I cannot and will not write what I said to him. It was not nice. And I thought their dad was going to kill him, but he did not. So, question your little girls who have those tummy aches that start around the ages you are all saying. Get her in a quiet room with no distractions and no hysteria. Brothers, dads, step-dads, uncles, friends, granddads. Please! Little girls that young don’t just have tummy aches pop up.. I was stupid and after 49 years, I still cry about it. I did not protect her.
I am so sorry to hear your story. You did the best you could with what you knew at the time. Do not beat yourself up now because that won’t help you or your daughter. I highly recommend The Connected Parent by Kristen Oliver or the documentary E-motion 2.0 on Amazon Prime as ways to start exploring healing from traumas. Love yourself and your daughter and forgive yourself. ❤️
Krissy rich says
Same story but it wasn’t my son who was abused by my brother. His stomach always hurt. Then on 5/30/16 my life changed forever. My son kept all of it a secret. Never told anyone about the abuse. We had the talks. I told him as well as his dad did that we would kill anyone’s who ever hurt him. That’s what we say right? Well my son couldn’t bear to know one of us would be in jail while the other was fighting for justice for him. At the age of 21 he took himself out of the equation. Although my brother didn’t pull the trigger that ended my sons life it was what my brothers hands did 16 years prior that slowly killed my son. My family protects my brother. I was raised by monsters. This world is filled with many types of monsters. My family may just be the most scariest of them all and it disgusts me to the core that I have the same blood that runs in my vains as they do. I can’t imagine how my son must have felt.
Krissy rich says
Meant it was my son that was abused.
Krissy, how heart rending! I’m so very sorry for your loss.
So sorry that happened! The same thing happened to my daughter, and I live with the guilt every single day! I was supposed to protect her, and I failed! She became a very angry teenager. Luckily, she has leared to deal with it through crossfit, and is now 24. She wants to work in the field of psychology and help other teenagers deal with things.
The 12 year old boy probably was also abused… just something to think about…
As a teacher of young children, I see this every day. The rigorous curriculum students are required to master causes severe anxiety for them. Stomach aches are common every day as well as acting out behavior. Sad that we don’t allow our children to be children anymore and that school causes anxiety in 7 year olds. I do yoga with my kids just to give them some quiet time to relax.
Thanks for doing that! I’m sure it helps those babies
Lana Hassell says
Oh, my goodness. I have read these comments that were made on the 16th and 17th of Jan. about young children and anxiety. I am the mother of 4 and only had a problem with my youngest. When he was 3 months old, we left him with a babysitter for the first time. When we got back, we were told that he had cried until he threw up. Then he was fine the rest of the time we were gone. (No cell phones back then). We were very busy with our other children and our own lives and our children had a lot of babysitters. Same thing happened with the youngest every time for years. When he was 5 years old, he had to start Kindergarten, and he rode the bus with his 2 sisters and an aunt who was in high school. YEP, HE DID! Threw up on the bus, got to school and threw up for the teacher. I took him to the doctor and he wanted to give him Benadryl every 3 – 4 hours. No thank you. Finally, I took him out of school. The only Kindergarten dropout in Texas 1974. No one had ever heard of anxiety in children back then, but he obviously was very anxious about being separated from me. This continued throughout the first grade with a very patient teacher. He finally quit throwing up every morning in school after Easter in the 1st grade. I guess he decided that I was not going to run away. The only help I was offered in those 6 1/2 years was Benadryl and I was not going to put him on that. I think there is more help out there now without resorting to meds. Yes, those tummy aches are real to those kiddoes. Mine never had a tummy ache, he just threw up. So, get any help you can.
Susan DeLuise says
I have an almost 17 year old daughter going through this similar thing. She has regents exams next week and that’s what I think is causing her anxiety.
Susan please consider speaking with her Dr about starting a low dose anti depressant. Just a very small amount has helped my son so much. He was unable to attend school from Sophmore-Sr year in high school due to severe nausea, headache & dizziness. He had every medical test you could imagine & some you would ever even think of, all negative. It was a life changer for him.
Heather Marks says
This was so helpful! Thank you so much for writing this article. I would never have put 2 and 2 together.
Sandra Allard says
I suffer from anxiety and when it gets bad my stomach hurts worse than usual as I do have stomach issues. mostly the anxiety is before Drs appointment
This was a very good read. My 5 1/2 year old son complains of this every time right after dinner. Any similarities to doing this right after dinner and not right before bed time?
This article assumes that kids have generalized anxiety, but it’s quite possible they are worrying about a very specific thing that isn’t going to be fixed by a work book or more mommy time or breathing exercises. It could be buly, an unfriendly teacher, difficulty with a project or some of the school’s technology… Parents need to dig to find out why their kid is anxious
Hence the comment “ sick to my stomach “
My 15 year old daughter suffers from anxiety terribly and I don’t know what to do for her most of the time except be there for her.
Well I used to tell my parents I had a sore stomach and I did. It was horribly painful and I would sit on the toilet for ages and until there was no more to come out. In hindsight it was anxiety but back then was not even contemplated.
My son says when he’s around new people or he’s angry he gets pains in his chest like someone has stabbed him. Think this is anxiety but don’t no what to do and docs don’t help
My 7 year old son says when he’s around new people or he’s angry he gets pains in his chest like someone has stabbed him. Think this is anxiety but don’t no what to do and docs don’t help
Liz Nieman says
I really, truly recommend the book I mentioned in the post: What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kids Guide To Overcoming Anxiety. Go check it out.
Would you please change “they’re” to “their”?
I was the kid with constant stomach aches due to stress and was always told to quit faking. I can reassure you the pain was real, not imagined, and continued into my thirties until I worked on setting my gut bacteria right. That many years of feeling stress in my gut left me with stomach ulcers, but no h. pilori, which can often be a culprit.
All this to caution, anxiety felt by kids in the stomach can be real pain with real healing available alongside healing the emotional aspect of things.
Hi Hanna, can you tell me more on how you set your gut bacteria right? My sons is turning 10 in March and has stomach aches all the time.. there is times where it is okay but mostly now.. it pains he says.. we did tests .. and only slight gastrititus so they put him on mess for constipation. But he still is experiencing tummy aches.. really hard hearing him complain all the time..
Rowena – I read this article because my 9 year old son suffers from anxiety. My family has started to use supplements to reduce acidity in our bodies and to improve gut health. The products we use are amazing and all natural and have absolutely improved our overall health and emotional well being. Please email me and I will share more information. firstname.lastname@example.org
@hannah can you share what you did to help heal your gut? You, or anyone who has done specific things to heal gut I would be interested in hearing from as my son has had stomach issues which I believe are primarily related to anxiety for years now-the stomach aches. We have done counseling. You may email email@example.com
Tisha Autrey says
I have a nine year old with anxiety and it saddens me she can’t even be a kid.. we’ve tried counseling… now on medication which is a low dose and actually is helping somewhat(she has those days when it’s extreme) but so much I had to take her out of public to homeschool until August so she can go to a private school with less children.. she was getting left behind in her public school and we actually ask the school and had a 594 committee firm but sadly unless your “there normal “ you just get left behind…praying for all of you parents who deal with this.. it’s not easy on the child or parents😢
First you say, “We have worked together to conquer her anxiety and she knows I will remind her that her stomach is actually just fine and it’s just her worry.” Followed by, “Well, it’s because their stomach actually hurts.” Please do not treat your daughter differently from your son. Anxiety DOES make the stomach actually hurt, just as you said. Do not dismiss her pain and tell her that her stomach is fine while acknowledging your son’s stomach actually hurts because of his anxiety.
My boy is very emotionally attached to me. He starts school this year. Do you have any advice or tips? Thanks.
Homeschool him!! <3
Nanny here. How can you tell the difference between them having anxiety that results in a stomach ache versus them saying they do as an avoidant tactic(i.e. trying to get out of finishing their dinner/doing chores.) I want to be sensitive to them but I also don’t want to be manipulated.
Best think is: school to be across the house … so he can have the feeling you are close to him!!!!
Taking a bus or driving a car for 5 minutes will be to much to handle …
What if all the homes across the street from the school aren’t for sale or rent, or the buildings across the street from the school are stores instead of houses or apartment buildings?
What study are you referring to when you say:
“One study discovered that more than half, or 51 percent of people surveyed”? I would love to know.
Thank you so much for this information my 2 out of my 3 kids always tells me this when they need to go to school as well i never knew it was anxiety all this time now i know and i also know what i need to do now thank you once again
My daughter is 9 and complsins of stomach pain. She worries about a school friend and gets emotional. I do think its anxiety
Lynette Smith says
Hi lovely people … I am a counsellor and specialise in work with 3 to 18 year olds.
I do this work because I believe that our precious babies (and their parents) sometimes need support to navigate through their life journeys.
Talking (& play) therapies work … releasing worries, exploring concerns and learning tools to cope. Find a reputable, safe counsellor and/or agency to help your little person.
I come from a place of having experienced this as a mama, a nurse and now a therapist supporting the most vulnerable in our world …
I have a four year old. She has been having much more anxiety since she learned she would become a big sister. Dropping of at school used to be no problem, now she cries Everytime me or mommy leaves her. Also she has been getting out of bed every night and coming into our bed. She didn’t do these things before the new baby
My granddaughter gets itchy her words when the family gets ready to go out
Ryan M says
My 4 year old daughter just this past week started having crying 😭 separation when I drop her off at preschool. She’s been going for months. And now there’s a problem. I ask what’s wrong and I get nothing out of her.
Yeah, but sometimes folks, it’s because our stomach hurts, and twenty years of telling us it’s anxiety, sure does cause anxiety.
Yours, someone who got a coeliac diagnosis after *twenty years* of being treated for anxiety.
Please please please, if this is a regular issue make sure you have had all the tests before anyone diagnoses anxiety. Yell at the doctor if you have to/
Annabella Laws says
the two are linked. ever notice when you feel anxious you get a tummy ache sometimes even extra trips to the bathroom with sudden need to off load. yes Anxiety triggers digestive problems it has been proven time and time again, it also add stress on the heart, attacks your immune system making you more prone to other health problems, and triggers depression. you never get depression with out anxiety attached in some form, they can trigger each other, you can become depressed, and in turn start to suffer anxiety, or you can suffer anxiety and in turn become depressed they are like the ugly twins that wont go away.
I am an elementary school nurse. I have some children who come to me regularly for stomachaches. I wonder how many of these babies are having anxiety. We don’t know what some of these kids are experiencing at home. Obviously I can’t buy your product for my kids st school, but I’m glad you are bringing this to our attention. It’s important to know their pain IS real.
it’s very true please don’t ingots when a child says his or her stomach hurts.
Cinda Eagle says
My son always Complained About his stomach hurting It would drive me crazy I would Tell him everyday stop complaining you’re fine go to school the school would call Tyler is sick again It got to the point he would make himself throw up We did everything every medication took him to the doctor had test run Turn job it was just that anxiety and depression once we got him on some medication To help all of that his stomach’s have not been an issue
Thank you Liz, my son has been saying how his stomach hurts in the morning, I know for rather most part. I know own it’s Separation Anxiety, his Dad’s not around, I try to tell him mom will just be right down the road but it breaks my heart, I have 2 grown Children from my husband that was hit by a car in 1998 my daughter was a newborn, and my Son was 2, So I definitely have Anxiety myself, and worry self sick as it has taken a toll on my health, thanks for listening and anymore free advice would be greatly appreciated!!!! 😊
I had stomachaches all through school. I averaged 30 days absent yearly. I was being molested by my father since I was two years old. No one picked up on it.
I absolutely could see the truth in this. I am 23 years old and I wouldn’t say I have anxiety regularly, but when I do get anxious/worried, or I have a bad feeling about something I feel it in the pit of my stomach. And it makes me feel ill, like something is wrong with my stomach. Until I talk myself out of being worried, or the thing that I’m worried about passes my stomach ache will not go away. As and adult I know it is just how I am feeling that is causing the sensation but it still feels like actual stomach pains.
I remember saying stomach hurt to avoid going to bed and before school because i didnt like to sit at a desk all day…it wasnt anxiety it was my stubborn self wanting to be indifferent….
Ashley Russell says
My 7 ur old daughter complaims alot at bedtime about her stomach we go thru everything and i beleive afyer reading this she has anxiety i habent been diagnosed yet but i no for sure i have anxiety. If there is any tips you could give me to help jer thru this i would gteatly appreciate it. I would love to buy the stuff off your link just dont hae the extra cash to do ot so any tips would be helpful thanks . and i also have these symtoms as well
Ashley Russell says
My 7 ur old daughter complaims alot at bedtime about her stomach we go thru everything and i beleive afyer reading this she has anxiety i habent been diagnosed yet but i no for sure i have anxiety. If there is any tips you could give me to help jer thru this i would gteatly appreciate i. Thanks . and i also have these symtoms as well
I saw a doctor for my daughter’s intense anxiety. Blood tests revealed really out of whack mineral levels. Zinc and magnesium (and ongoing blood tests) created an amazing difference – a whole different approach to life!! Stomach aches now rare. I’d recommend getting a doctor to see if there is a biological cause.
Wow this is interesting! Everytime I have a public speaking event (have had about 20 ish in my lifetime) without fail I get severe stomach pain and have bad diarehha right before when it’s over I’m totally fine. Haha! I fighred it was just my wierd nervous symptom.
We have been battling stomach pain/burning for almost 2 yrs with my now 15 yr old daughter. Several times she goes to bed in tears & she isn’t a cryer. We have taken her to GI Dr to have upper GI checking for ulcers. All test were normal. During this time, her gallbladder was removed because it was nonfunctional. The pain/burning still continues..We have tried antacid meds & nothing has worked. Went as far as having other bloodwork done to check for different things. Still nothing has came up as the problem. Currently have her on gluten free diet for the past 2 weeks & no change. Our next step is children’s hospital to see if they can help her…Has anyone else experienced this? What worked for U? I’m grasping at straws now…
The Dr has taken several tubes of blood to check for different things. All has been normal.
Jessica – I hope I’m not overstepping but my family has started to use two all natural supplements that improve gut health. One of them reduces acidity in the body and the other is the best probiotic I’ve ever used. It has completely eliminated the acid reflux of one of my family members. Please email me with more information. I’d love to try to help your daughter.
My son is 4 yr old n after mu 2nd son come he got scared daytime taking nap..He woke up n rome here n there unconsciously.. Rubs his hands shout for his dad…
He loves his sibling bt i think its something jealousy in him.. He dont say anything. How to deal wid him????
He says he need a lap to sleep he wants his mum to be dere wen he sleeps bt stil he got scared.. Plz help me..
Arthur Brands says
When my daughter was 4, the stomach aches became too frequent to put down to anxiety or a crush on the doctor. Palpation and x-ray showed no problem, but a change to a female pediatrician finally got a diagnosis. A soft tissue neuroblastoma the size of an eggplant, filling most of her lower abdomen. Undetected due to its nature, if untreated it would have killed her before she was 6. Instead, thanks to a pediatrician willing to believe her patient and the mother, support from the Shriners, and the doctors and staff of St. Jude’s in Memphis, she’s looking forward to turning 35 this year. Thank God the price of CT scans and MRIs havecome down as they have been more regularly used in diagnoses.
I’m really glad your daughter got the help she needed, but a crush on the doctor?? At 4 years old??
I’m not a kid but I have delt with anexiety for many years and I Know how bad it is on me so I can’t imagine a child haveing to go through it, the thing is many people believe anexiety is just in your mind & that’s not necessary true anexiety is definitely real are there as many people that have suffer from it my problem is I have agoraphobia I’m afraid of Open Spaces I can’t breathe when I’m in Open Spaces I feel like I am trapped I feel like I can’t breathe I lose my eye sight my hands lock up & won’t open I can’t stand I lose all control of my muscles …I don’t go in any public place constant fear of another attack…
Crystal Richard says
Please don’t encourage parents to dismiss it as anxiety! This should be only be tried AFTER proper doctor’s visits. I speak from experience and now live with irreversible damage to my nerves and body.
I would also check your home or school environment as mold and bacteria and toxins from water damaged spaces can play a HUGE role in anxiety, gut issues, autoimmune problems…consider having your home thoroughly inspected and make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in Biotoxin illness.
Clive Bates says
The whole nervous system is connected, in this case it is a heart / stomach / brain thing. Whatsoever upsets the heart upsets the stomach. More than likely thoughts about the issue are muddled at best in the child’s mind, and more often than not pushed to the back of the mind and remain unresolved, increasing the likelihood of disease. It’s so important to get kids to open up when they complain like this. They need to feel secure, loved,, and unjudged enough to be able to talk about anything at all. All too early is the peer pressure to suck things up and keep them to yourself under threat of being considered weak or a loser for being affected.
This has been our life for the last 6 years. It started with her just telling us that her stomach hurt, then it would hurt so bad she would vomit. We took her to every pediatric gastroenterologist specialist in our area and put her through many unnecessary tests. Everything of course would come back normal.
I finally started keeping a journal of when the stomach aches were occurring and found that it was always around a big event or change, like a vacation, school field trip, sleep over a friends house, test a school, etc.
So saw our pedestrian, she reccomended a therapist and we began counseling for anxiety immediately. At age 10 she had to go on meds, but she’s on the lowest dose and they are working great. Life is so much better.
What To Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kids Guide To Overcoming Anxiety. This book is amazing.. I have had it for 3 years and use it with my daughter all the time! We always talk about the “worry bully” and tell him to beat it. It has really helped her so much!
Thanks.. very helpful..
My daughter told me every morning and every night for years. Still does at times but not so often now.
We got over the morning one by saying we could tell the teacher, and she knows the teacher could ring me at work and I will come and get her straight away. After one particularly rough school year with it, she struck a teacher who was absolutely magic, and not once in the whole year did she complain. It seems like after that one year, she is old enough now that we don’t have it anymore. Sometimes at night now but not as much, thank goodness
My 3 yr old daughter started complaining of not feeling well ONLY on the nights my husband would leave for trucking, he is gone anywhere from 1-4 nights wk. usually the first night is the worse and she hardly sleeps, she has a hard time sleeping all the time but it seems that first night he leaves she hardly sleeps at all and complains of not feeling well/ stomach hurts. Is 3 too young for anxiety? When I ask her if she is nervous she doesn’t really get in yet. When he gives her a hug bye before he leaves she doesn’t freak out or anything… not sure what to do..
Any age child can have anxiety. Look up separations anxiety as it seems likely that that’s the problem
Mary connole says
My 13 yr old grandaughter
Anxiety can also be a symptom of an underlying health issue! My daughter who is 28 was diagnosed at 14 with Crihn’s Disease! The first symptoms were anxiety, but we did not find out right away! She was treated for anxiety from sixth grade until in 9th grade the symptoms developed into a major health issue! I was in the pediatric office all the time! She even was suspected if hvi g anorexia because she ate so little at s time! It was devastating! I ended up taking her to my doctor or else I am sure she would have suffered much worse at the hands of drs. Who did not take her anxiety seriously! My hope is that more research is done and parents don’t have to go through this experience! My advice is to keep asking questions. And advocate advocate! I kept pushing them and when I wasn’t satisfied with the answer I went further! Funny thing is my dr. Knew she had something serious and he only saw her once!
A great and insightful article but please learn the difference between they’re and their.
When I was younger, up until 10th grade I developed a stomach ache every morning, nausea, gas, and bloating mainly. I lived off pepto bismol pills before school. I loved school and had a great home life so we had no idea why I was so sick. Like clockwork around 9:3am I would magically feel better until the next morning. I googled and googled for my symptoms and discovered it could be stress. I didn’t feel stressed so I wasn’t sure. By 10th grade I finally gave in and went to the doctor. They gave me a gallbladder ultrasound and a scope into my stomach. They found nothing. Eventually they asked me if it could be stressed and I said maybe. They ended up putting me on an anti depressant and the next day I felt 10 times better. It’s a miracle. Medicine helped me but everyone’s body is different. But this article is very true and real.
My Daughter is 5 years old And was just diagnosed with ADHD and ODD and frequently tells me her stomach hurts but is at lots of different times! I guess she has bad anxiety about a lot of things, I know she doesn’t understand how her brain is wired differently but hopefully with some behavior therapy and some counseling she will understand it more!
Nick Ward says
I definitely felt anxiety in my stomach as a child, especially around school and certain relatives. As an empathic person, I would experience the anxiety and fear of others as sharp pains in my body.
Thank you for this enlightening article, it will help me better understand my son, nieces and nephews, and children in my community.
Elan a Gross says
Thank you so much for this! I had constant stomach aches as a child and went to a psychiatrist. Many xrays and other tests revealed nothing. This was in the 1960’s. yes, I have had anxiety issues in later life, as well. I can look back on that time of my life and see how anxiety affected me. What a relief it is to me, now.
terrie lucaci says
I just cant get my 10yr old daughter to fall asleep at night. Bedtime is at 9 and she will lay there until 12 if alone or if someone is beside her like myself or her father she still cant fall asleep because shes worried we will fall asleep before her. This has been on going for over a year now. Once she sleeps she sleeps, its the falling asleep apart that is difficult for us
Have you tried melatonin? My son did the same thing every night and his pediatrician recommended 1 mg melatonin, he is also the child that will complain of stomach pains on a daily basis before school while in school and before bed, hope this works
Have you tried making her bedtime earlier – like 7:30ish? Kids that age still need a lot of sleep, and just like babies have a “sleep window,” I think we all do, where our bodies begin to fight sleep if we miss it.
Candice Swart says
Thank you for this post. My son is 5.5 years old and now and again he complains his tummy is sore we even took him to a doctor for a checkup. The doctor said it is something to do with the stomach and how it’s attached to the wall lining and its growing too quickly causing pain, but this now makes complete sense. I usually dose him up on meds or feed him because I assume it’s because he didn’t eat supper despite our best tries. Now I know what it really means anxiety, I am hopeful to be a better mom and help him with his anxiety.
Amanda Bergeron says
I was wondering if there is anywhere else I could find this article of kids and stomachaches? My son complains of stomach pain every morning before school and every night before bed, thank you
… How about a simple hug. My son suffers from chronic anxiety. You know what helped him? Me squeezing him and letting him calm feel secure! Thats wat anxiety is.. The feelong of being alone and trapped by yourself… So reassure them they’re nervous and to take deep breaths to relieve that nausea! My son used to tell me his legs hurt. Because he had restless legs syndrome. I laid my body on top of his legs and he would be sleeping not 10 minutes later! (I’m 109 lbs so it’s just the pressure that he feels!) You dont need to buy any books to be there for your child! You need to just be there! You can easily habe your child write down their fears.. But then your having them think their fears will disappear.. Anxiety ismt just in your head.. Its your bodies defense mechanism to change. And you’ll always be changing, so dont tell them to identify a fear and have some thing hold that.. Bc your gonna make a liar out of yourself! Bc if you have chronic anxiety like my son.. You Will get anxiety from simply standing up too fast because your body is going through a CHANGE! I do agree your stomach is your second brain… But not for your emotions. They say that’s your secobd brain because the digestive cycle doesnt get controlled by your brain in your noggin. But by the muscles and contractions in your intestines! Even digesting food can give anyone anxiety! If your childs having a hard time distracting their brain to stay calm … Read your child a story! Sing them a song! Rub their back until they got thru their fears and tell them it’s ok to feel this way because you feel that way too sometimes. If you really think about it.. Your child is telling you their stomach hurts bc anxiety makes your entire body tense and you feel butterflies. They need attention. They need YOU not some workbook!
Sarah Donaldson says
You have just described my autistic daughter perfectly.
Tummy aches every single day at the same times, and now anxious that she will get a tummy ache on our wedding day and she won’t be able to enjoy it.
The tummy aches cause her real pain and distress, but are there every single night.
We live in the UK so will see what options are out there for us to help her. But thank you so much for writing this! It explains so much!
Thank you for this. We’ve been dealing with the “my stomach hurts” nightly when it comes to eating dinner. I was starting to think it was a ploy but this actually makes more sense. So relieved to find some resources!
Marlene Spadoni says
Our 9 year old daughter developed stomach aches a short time after her 27 year told uncle passed away unexpectedly. We did all the usual testing but nothing seemed to be wrong and nothing seemed to help. I talked with our pediatrician about her uncle. He walked into the exam room and said, “Hi there, sweetheart how are you?” She said my tummy still hurts. He said, “I know, but you know what…you’re a strong little girl and you’re going to be OK and YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE!”. She burst into tears and said, “How did you know?” Our daughter had never known anyone who had died and she thought only old people died. When her uncle passed away and he was young, just like her daddy, it had a profound effect on her. She reasoned that if her uncle could die then her daddy could die and even she might die. I’m so grateful for our pediatrician and the love and concern he always had for our two children. The tummy aches stopped and we had our little girl back Thank God!
I have an 8 year old who feels sick in the mornings (especially Mondays) He also says he misses me when he’s at school and wants me to work there) Same when hes generally away frim me. Maybe its the same?
Diane Heath says
Great article. I would share it if “they’re” could be changed to “their” in the last line, which cinches it.
Linda Early says
Because that’s the most important take away from this article. 🙄
OCD can be quite stressful.
Took my daughter to her GP for her stomach pains. Turns out they were real. Anxiety causes the body stress.
This is a great article, I had childhood anxiety way back in the 1960′ but not much was known about childhood anxiety back then. My mother said I was trying to get attention in Hope’s she could snap me out of it. I am now 59 and I find the article of particular interest as I still study early childhood as a way of understanding myself and others better.
It’s never too late to understand ourselves, if we dont care enough…who will…thank you!
My daughter comes home every day from school with stomac pains. She is bullied every day. Today. I talked to her teacher. Tomorrow, I will talk to the bully. If the billy does not stop bullying my child, I will go to the parents. And if that does not work, I will go to the school director. And if this does not work, I will go viral!!
Hi, I find this quite I tresting. Mi older kid have been complaining of stomach ache several time, his doctor says it’s gastritis but I’m almost sure is a more emotional related symptom. He’s almost twelve, the resources you mention are more suitable for a certain age?
Thanks in advance.
Kathy Kreger says
Over the last year I have seen numerous kids get relief from anxiety & other issues by using Hemp-derived CBD oil. My granddaughter is one of them. All natural, no negative side effects. If you have a child suffering, I would definitely check this out.
Margaret mckinlay says
Hi where can I buy cbd oil I live in Scotland
Online – Healthspan is a reputable firm
Margaret mckinlay says
Hi I found this very interesting as my grandson who is now 14 has been complaining of this for a couple of years now he is attending the hospital to make sure there is nothing serious wrong with him he has pain morning and night and is a wee worryer about his mum
Wow this is unbelievable. Telling parents their kids have a mental illness and you have the cure for only 97 dollars. You should be fucking ashamed of yourself. Snake oil salesman.
I wish I would have known this with my now adult children. One of them has severe anxiety issues that are displayed through unexplained physical traumas. As a child he often complained of stomach pain and distress. The docs ran their tests, ruling out any physical ailments and recommended counseling. Unfortunately, we didn’t follow through long enough.
Or they say they can’t breath. I had anxiety attacks as a child. My experience was to be breathless for a while. My memory of that time was pure panic. Thankfully, my mother would try to “bring me down off the cilff.” My mother would reassure me that I could breath. She was very calm and loving through those experiences. My mother was always successful In getting me over the panic attack, gratefully. Unfortunately, the stressors I was going through were not addressed. Understandably so, my family had “bigger fish to fry” at the time. But please find the stressors in your child’s life. No child should go through this. ❤
My little girl who is 5 tells me everyday going to school she feels sick and her tummy hurts and that sky e doesn’t want to go to school why is this she keeps saying it’s to do with the assembly Hall but once she is in school she is fine now but we had a problem with her going into assembly the teachers were lovely they assured her everything will be fine but everyday is a nightmare and I don’t no what to do
My 11 year old complains of tummy issues it’s gotten so bad she vomits blood. I’m pretty sure it’s due to her being bullied in school because she says her belly hurts all day not just once in a day. It truly sucks to have to sit back and watch your child suffer and not be able to fix it because the school refuses to do anything even though they know its happing
What about a 3 year old? That book says for 6+. My daughter says it everyday. I have bad anxiety too.
My daughter is 21, had another anxiety attack this afternoon. When she was a Jr in high school she started having anxiety attacks so bad she was missing school. Started after a breakup from her boyfriend. I realized later that it wasn’t so much him but that incident pushed her over an edge she was already close to. Prior to this, when she was a freshman she was cutting herself. I thought we got through that, but obviously not. At the end of her Jr year, she went missing for a day and had thoughts of hurting herself. It was then that we had her admitted to a adolescent and teen psychiatric hospital for a few days. She was actually happy there. I thought she would pitch a fit when I left her there but I think it was a relief for her. FRom that day on my life has been all about worrying about her. For about a year after she was discharged she continued to have anxiety attacks and was still cutting herself. As a parent it is heartbreaking to see these marks on your child and knowing they must be in so much pain that cutting is the way they feel better.
Reading the above story makes me sad because that was my daughter as a child. She always had a stomach ach. We saw doctors and had test, but never did they suggest that she could have anxiety and never did I think it either. I also worked with pediatritions at the time and none of them ever mentioned anxiety or that I should take her to a child psychologist. I can’t believe I missed all the signals. I wish I would have realized she was anxious because we could have gotten her help so that anxiety didn’t rule her life as she grew older. High school was hell for her, mad most of the time she hid it. We thought everything was perfect until the end of her junior year.
Brenda Martin says
Thank you. Insightful & true.
Matthew Bishop says
Sounds like one kid doesn’t want to go to bed and the other doesn’t want to go to school.
Marcia Beth Roberts says
For my littles, the issue was continued neglect after we had left their abusive father. They had court-ordered visits. We really had to get creative. Much better now!
Actually I can really relate to this as a child I was severely bullied at school and I would always tell my mum I had stomach ache to get out of going it actually did hurt but I remember the intense fear of having to go to school and endure the beatings the name calling and the sexual innuendos thrown at me. I was lucky the bullies failed I became stronger and more determined as I grew up.
aponader psot gulo amar onek valo legeche abong ami onek opokrito hoyche. amora asakori ay dhoroner post diya amader aro sahajjo korben. aponader onek dhonnobad.
I notice both my children do this every night at bed time. We’ve always left tv on on Nick Jr and it was working with no problems.
It seems just like tjis past week they’ve started with their belly’s hurting
Wow! I always complained of stomach aches as a child which were very real….as a 20 year old I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety
What an important message. My youngest daughter is 7 and she is doing this. The doctor ruled out any stomach problem. She complains every nite after she’s finished for the day and it’s time to go to bed, her stomach hurts, I don’t feel good. I feel so bad for her, nothing takes the pain away then she finally gets exhausted and hoes to sleep. The pediatrician thinks it’s anxiety. Thank for the resource on your page. I will check that out.
My son had dizziness too. Dr put him on low dose of iron. But I’m interested in the first book also.
Whilst the whole stomach ache = anxiety thing is really useful, “worry eaters” sounds like a terrible idea to me! The doll eats the worries written by the child; I dread to think what kind of messed up messages that’s giving! “Eat your worries”, “swallow/hold on to your worries”, “feed anyone who’s anxious” Wow! Did anyone think this through? Also “crushing” anxiety? Really? “Yes, squash your feelings, right down inside. in fact here have some cake to push down on top – or just practice with this doll…” ?!?!?! 🙄
Could they possibly move to something else. My son had done this for along time now he is complaining about his one ear hurting. He does have tubes but the ear he messe with has nothing wrong with it. He is going to see the ent but I was just wondering if anyone else has had the anxiety move from stomach aches to something else.
Thanks for this useful information!
cong thuc nau an says
Anxiety is a normal part of childhood, and every child goes through phases. A phase is temporary and usually harmless. But children who suffer from an anxiety disorder experience fear, nervousness, and shyness, and they start to avoid places and activities. I think parents should be the first support to help children escape the cycle anxiety.
cach nau an ngon says
Thanks for this useful information!
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