Abdominal Pain-Predominant Functional Gastrointestinal Diseases in Children and Adolescents: Prevalence, Symptomatology, and Association With Emotional Stress

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition | December 01, 2011

Devanarayana NM et al. – Abdominal pain–predominant Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGD) affects 12.5% of children ages 10 to 16 years and constitutes a significant health problem in Sri Lanka. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common FGD subtype present. Abdominal pain–predominant FGD are higher in girls and those exposed to emotional stress. Prevalence of FGD decreased with age. Extraintestinal symptoms are more frequent in affected children.


  • A cross–sectional survey was conducted among a randomly selected group of 10– to 16–year–olds in 8 randomly selected schools in 4 provinces.
  • A validated, self–administered questionnaire was completed by children independently in an examination setting. FGD were diagnosed using Rome III criteria.


  • A total of 2180 questionnaires were distributed and 2163 (99.2%) were included in the analysis (1189 [55%] boys, mean age 13.4 years, standard deviation 1.8 years).
  • Of them, 270 (12.5%) had at least 1 abdominal pain–predominant FGD.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was seen in 107 (4.9%), functional dyspepsia in 54 (2.5%), functional abdominal pain in 96 (4.4%), and abdominal migraine (AM) in 21 (1.0%) (2 had AM and functional dyspepsia, 6 had AM and IBS).
  • Extraintestinal symptoms were more common among affected children.
  • Abdominal pain–predominant FGD were higher in girls and those exposed to stressful events.
  • Prevalence negatively correlated with age.

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