Your child’s doctor will do a physical exam and ask:

  • When the pain started
  • Where the pain is located
  • The number of times your child feels pain each week
  • How long the pain lasts


In most cases, your child’s doctor can make the diagnosis based on the symptoms and physical exam. If tests are needed to rule out a more serious condition, they may include:


  • Blood tests. These are used to check for infections and other conditions that can cause abdominal pain.
  • Stool culture. This test can find bacteria, viruses and small amounts of blood in the stool.
  • Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to take real-time pictures of the abdomen.
  • CT scan. This test creates pictures of the interior of the abdomen with X-rays.
  • Barium study. For this test, your child swallows a chalky liquid called barium, which is then tracked through the upper part of their digestive system with X-rays. This test is also called an upper GI.
  • Upper endoscopy. During this test, your child is sedated and the doctor passes a thin, flexible tube with a camera into their stomach through their mouth. This test can show inflammation, infection, ulcers and other problems.