Stomach Pains

Posted by Melissa Callaghan on

It can often be the case where stomach pains are keeping your child awake at night or even waking them up screaming.

When there are no other signs and symptoms, it can be a bit perplexing. Then an x-ray or pathology may be conducted and it comes back normal.

What could it be? No one knows?

It could be something that is called:


Functional refers to the fact that nothing has showed up in testing, there are no blockages, no sign of inflammation, or any infection.

Basically, it is pain in the abdominal area that has been occurring for at least two months without any other symptoms.
It is also when other conditions have been ruled out such as irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, and abdominal migraine.
Functional abdominal pain is one of the most common causes of chronic (long term) abdominal pain in children and teenagers along with irritable bowel syndrome.

Why is this happening?

It happens when there in an altered sensitivity to nerve impulses in the gut and the brain. Nerve impulses travel from the gut area to the spinal cord, and then to different parts of the brain which are all involved in the feeling of abdominal pain. One area involved where the pain is coming from and how intense it is and the other area involves memories and emotions. Therefore, a lot of abdominal pain can be connected with emotions and stress that is happening in daily life.

Even though functional abdominal occurs without other symptoms. It can be there as a result of an infection or any event that stimulated the bowel. It can even begin after traumatic life events such as the death of someone close, a divorce, or problems at school such as bullying. When there is added stress the symptoms will intensify. The symptoms can also intensify because the memory is still there from how painful it was last time and then this leads to more intense pain.

What else could it be?

The pain can also be triggered by viral or bacterial infections. It is also possible that it could be caused from a parasite. In which case a stool sample may be required. Luckily as a Naturopath we have fantastic herbs to work on this.

Children often point to their belly button area but it can occur everywhere and not always in the same place every time. This pain can be all consuming, it can make children cry, make their face go red or pale, or cause them to break out in a sweat.

Other symptoms that can be experienced include:

-Upper abdominal pain without feeling nauseous 
-A feeling of being very full after eating even if it is only just a few bites
-Pain may or may not be connected to bowel movements
-There could also be diarrhoea or constipation, or alternating between the two

Functional abdominal pain has a high connection with mental health disorders and if there is a history of anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders then the response to the pain can be elevated.

By asking a lot of questions we can determine if the pain is connected with other digestive issues or whether it is functional abdominal pain. By taking a detailed history of how the pain started, where it is located, and how it has progressed.

As an early childhood specialist, I have extensive experience in understanding children and teenagers. It can often be difficult to interpret childhood and teenage behaviour as well as their emotions and whether the pain is real or just an excuse to get out of school. With over 20 years of experience with both children and teenagers this is where I can help.

Combining my teaching degree with my Naturopath degree has helped me to provide the best possible care for children and teenagers as a children’s specialist.

Who am I?

I am a Bachelor qualified Naturopath who specialises in improving metabolic processes in the body. Major areas for improvement include gut, thyroid, kidney, skin and liver health. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, & irritable bowel conditions. I help my patients by giving them symptomatic relief while working on repairing the underlying causes of metabolic stress and waste accumulation. Patients experience amazing results which are seen in their blood tests with improved thyroid markers, cholesterol, and liver markers.  As well as lower blood pressure and see relief from improved gastrointestinal symptoms like the ones that mean you need to know where every single toilet is before you leave the house.

Melissa Callaghan BHSc, BTeach


To book an appointment click here 

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With over 30 years of experience working with children and teenagers, Melissa brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role as a senior naturopath. Her deep understanding of children: their body language, behavioural patterns, and health conditions sets her apart.

Melissa's career spans various roles, including Group Leader, Early Childhood Teacher, Director, and Operations Manager. She has successfully transformed numerous childcare centers into vibrant educational spaces, fueled by her unwavering passion for children. Now, she combines this passion with her extensive knowledge and experience in natural medicine.

In addition to her work with children and teenagers, Melissa excels in teaching parents and educators, empowering them to comprehend children's behaviours. She has conducted numerous seminars, equipping parents and fellow educators with valuable insights. Melissa has also collaborated with various departments within Qld Health to enhance teaching skills and deepen understanding of children.

Melissa's educational background is just as impressive, with two degrees—a teaching degree and a Health Science degree in Naturopathy. Her dedication and commitment shine through as she passionately serves families, bringing over 20 years of invaluable experience to her practice.

At Pinnacle Holistic Health, common children's health conditions receive expert care and attention, including difficulty sleeping, low energy, loss of interest and passion, skin reactions, weight management and dietary advice, stress, gut health and digestive disorders, parasites, weakened immunity, earaches, anxiety, insecurities, ADHD, and Autism.

But it doesn't stop there. Melissa also provides support for parents, addressing conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, feeling overwhelmed, and offering valuable parenting guidance and advice. She understands the challenges parents face and is dedicated to helping them navigate the journey with confidence.

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