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 ND, BHSc, BTeach
Clinical Naturopath


To book an appointment click here 



With over 20 years experience working with children and teenagers it is only natural that I have a special interest in Children's Health. I understand children. I understand their body language, their behavioural patterns, and their health conditions.

I have worked as a Group Leader, an Early Childhood Teacher, a Director and an Operations Manager. I have built and restructured many childcare centres to turn them into amazing educational centres rather than just babysitting places. My passion is children. So now I am combining my passion for children with my knowledge and experience in natural medicine.

In addition to my experience with children and teenagers I also have a lot of extensive experience in teaching parents and educators to help them understand the behaviours of children. I have given many seminars regarding this to parents as well as teaching other educators and departments within Qld Health to improve their teaching skills and knowledge of children.

My education includes two degrees, one in teaching and one in Health Science to become a Naturopath. I believe passionately in what I do and that I can help many families and I have over 20 years experience doing this.

Common children's health conditions that come in to clinic include:

- Difficulty sleeping
- Low energy
- Lost interest in everything
- Skin reactions
- Acne
- Weight management/dietary advice
- Stress
- Gut health/digestive disorders
- Parasites
- Low immune
- Ear aches
- Anxiety and insecurities
- ADHD/Autism

Common parent health conditions that come in to clinic include:
- Stress
- Anxiety
- Depression
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Parenting guidance and advice
- Sibling battles

I'm here to help

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