Pediatric Functional Abdominal Pain Syndrome (FAPS)

Pediatric Functional Abdominal Pain Syndrome (FAPS)


What is functional abdominal pain?

Recurring abdominal pain with no other explanation is called functional abdominal pain.

How do you know if your child has functional abdominal pain?

If your child has chronic, recurring abdominal pain and no cause can be found, it might be functional abdominal pain. Functional abdominal pain is usually diagnosed after a physical examination of a child and any medical testing does not find another cause for the pain. A child may have symptoms of functional abdominal pain all the time, or the symptoms may come and go.

Although functional abdominal pain is not life threatening, it can have other negative effects. Children experiencing functional abdominal pain may become frustrated, have trouble sleeping, or they may miss school and other activities due to the pain.

What causes functional abdominal pain?

The exact cause of functional abdominal pain is unknown. However, researchers and doctors believe there may be a problem with nerve signals that cause a child’s stomach to be more sensitive than average. A child may have extra sensitivity to certain foods, having gas in the abdomen or other changes in bowel function.

Who is at risk for functional abdominal pain?

Your child is more at risk for functional abdominal pain if they have the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diagnosed psychiatric disorder
  • Emotional stress
  • Previous stomach or intestinal infections
  • Traumatic experience

What are the symptoms of functional abdominal pain?

The symptoms of functional abdominal pain are similar to other medical conditions, so be sure to have your doctor rule out another cause. Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain that is constant or comes and goes
  • Feeling full after eating very little food
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain during bowel movements


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