- More than a quarter of children report recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) at least once between early childhood and age 16, but in most cases, RAP does not persist into adolescence.
- Those with RAP at age 12 years were significantly more likely to have abdominal-pain-related functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders (AP-FGID) at age 16.
Why this matters
- Abdominal pain in children is notoriously difficult to diagnose and also quite common.
- 2374 children from a prospective population-based birth cohort study in Sweden.
- Parent-reported attacks of colic in early childhood (1-2 years) and self-reported weekly abdominal pain at 12 and 16 years.
- Funding: Swedish Research Council and others.
- 26.2% reported RAP.
- 44.9% who reported RAP at age 12 had persistent GI issues at 16 years, with increased relative risk (95% CI) for:
- RAP: 2.2 (1.7-2.8).
- Any AP-FGID: 2.6 (1.9-3.6).
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): 3.2 (2.0-5.1).
- Persistent RAP between early childhood to age 12 years was more common in girls (11.7% vs 1.4%; P=.01).
- 16.1% of children with AP-FGID had childhood RAP, including 18.0% with IBS, 18.2% with functional dyspepsia, and 9.7% with functional abdominal pain.
- Among those with IBS, childhood RAP was more common in girls (25.6% vs 5.7%; P<.01>
- Case classification did not include a medical evaluation.