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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CLINICAL NUTRITION IN CHILDREN

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Treatment options for functional gastrointestinal disorders: From empiric to complementary approaches

Authors
item Whitfield, K -
item Shulman, Robert -

Submitted to: Pediatric Annals
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2009
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Citation: Whitfield, K.L., Shulman, R.J. 2009. Treatment options for functional gastrointestinal disorders: From empiric to complementary approaches. Pediatric Annals. 38(5):288-294.

Interpretive Summary: Functional gastrointestinal disorders remain a common problem in the pediatric age group. These children have abdominal pain without any clear identifiable cause. Community-based studies from around the world demonstrate that 10% to 46% of all children may suffer from these disorders at some time. No treatment is completely effective, but there is some evidence that avoiding sugars that are not well absorbed may help some children. Alternatively, increasing fiber in the diet also may help. Medications that relax the muscles of the intestine may be of benefit. Low doses of antidepressant medicines are believed to help by reducing the pain sensations from the intestines. Probiotics ("good bacteria") are being evaluated for efficacy. Different types of psychological interventions can be helpful, perhaps by reducing the amount of pain input from the intestines. More research is needed into what treatments are most helpful and why.

Technical Abstract: Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) remain a common problem in the pediatric age group. These conditions were first recognized by Apley in 1958 when he coined the earlier term 'recurrent abdominal pain' (RAP) for a group of children with recurrent or persistent abdominal pain that interfered with functional daily living and had no evident organic etiology. Community-based studies from around the world demonstrate that 10% to 46% of all children meet the criteria for RAP. As FGIDs continue to cause emotional and financial burdens on affected families, efforts are being made to better categorize FGIDs as a symptom-based diagnosis, understand their pathophysiology, and investigate effective treatment options.

Last Modified: 4/19/2014
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