World Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 103–112

Functional gastrointestinal disorders: past and present

  • Rana Fayez Ammoury
  • Marian Del Rosario Pfefferkorn
  • Joseph Marino Croffie
Review Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12519-009-0021-6

Cite this article as:
Ammoury, R.F., Pfefferkorn, M.D.R. & Croffie, J.M. World J Pediatr (2009) 5: 103. doi:10.1007/s12519-009-0021-6



Chronic abdominal pain is a common complaint in childhood and adolescence. Despite decades of clinical observations and research, it still poses a challenge to pediatric health care professionals. The aim of this review is to highlight the epidemiology of pediatric chronic abdominal pain and to describe the pathogenesis of this disorder, its clinical manifestations, evaluation and therapeutic options.

Data sources

Articles on chronic abdominal pain in the recent years from PubMed, MEDLINE, and reference textbooks were reviewed.


Chronic abdominal pain, a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID), is a multifactorial condition that results from a complex interaction between psychosocial and physiologic factors via the brain-gut axis. A thorough history coupled with a complete physical examination and normal screening studies rule out an organic cause in 95% of the cases. It is highly important for the physician to establish a trusting relationship with the child and parents because successful treatment including modification of physical and psychological stress factors, dietary changes, and drug therapy depends greatly on education, reassurance and active psychological support.


FGIDs are a cause of great anxiety, distress and morbidity in children as well as adults. As our understanding of these conditions improves, our therapeutic interventions will progress not only to overcome them but also to intervene early in the disease course so as to limit long-term impact.

Key words

abdominal painbowel syndromegastrointestinal disorders

Copyright information

© Children's Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rana Fayez Ammoury
    • 1
  • Marian Del Rosario Pfefferkorn
    • 1
  • Joseph Marino Croffie
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and NutritionIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Clinical Fellow in Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and NutritionIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA