Diet and Stomach Pain

Some children with persistent stomach pains, diarrhea, bloating, cramping, or excessive gas, have difficulty digesting certain foods (carbohydrates ). Some of the common sources of carbohydrates, I have listed below. If your child was eating any of these foods lately, let me know. If I need to help your child, I can adjust some items in his or her diet.

One carbohydrate recognized to cause a problem for many children is called lactose . This is a sugar found in milk and all dairy products. These are a few examples of common foods containing lactose. Cow milk in most forms - whole, low fat, skim, condensed and butter milk. Ice milk or Ice cream, Mozzarella, and cottage cheese, Frozen yogurt, Milk-based pudding, macaroni and cheese

Other dairy products have a lower lactose content and are less likely to cause problems. I advise you to avoid them because children with intestinal infections can be particularly sensitive. Examples of these kinds of foods are: Most cheeses: American, Colby, Swiss, cheddar, Parmesan, Camembert, and cream cheese. Margarine that contains milk. Yogurt with active culture lactose is not the only carbohydrate that can cause stomach ache, diarrhea and cramps. In some cases symptoms can be caused by other carbohydrates like fructose and sorbitol.

Some common foods high in fructose are: Sodas sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup, fruits, chewy fruit snacks, fruit drinks and especially apple, grape and pear sherbets.

Foods high in sorbitol are:

  • Apple juice and apple cider,
  • Apples, prunes, pears and peaches.
  • “Sugarless” candy or gum sweetened with sorbitol
  • Fruit juice popsicles
  • Fruit canned in concentrate apple or pear juice often labeled “lite.”
  • Fruit juice drinks, Pear juice
  • Medications flavored with sorbitol

Some foods labeled as high in fiber can cause intestinal symptoms too. Common foods like oat bran muffins or bread high-fiber breakfast cereals.

Some children are also bothered by an irritation of stomach fluid backing up into the esophagus. We are not surprised by newborns spitting up but older children may have similar complaints. Chronic bad breath or bad tastes in their mouth may be caused by the condition called gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). This can lead to persistent stomach pain. GERD can bother newborns and older children but there is effective medication to help allieviate the discomfort and control the symptoms. (Video that describes problem) Last reviewed April 22, 2010