Functional abdominal pain syndrome

Gastroenterology. 2006 Apr;130(5):1492-7. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2005.11.062.


Functional abdominal pain syndrome (FAPS) differs from the other functional bowel disorders; it is less common, symptoms largely are unrelated to food intake and defecation, and it has higher comorbidity with psychiatric disorders. The etiology and pathophysiology are incompletely understood. Because FAPS likely represents a heterogeneous group of disorders, peripheral neuropathic pain mechanisms, alterations in endogenous pain modulation systems, or both may be involved in any one patient. The diagnosis of FAPS is made on the basis of positive symptom criteria and a longstanding history of symptoms; in the absence of alarm symptoms, an extensive diagnostic evaluation is not required. Management is based on a therapeutic physician-patient relationship and empirical treatment algorithms using various classes of centrally acting drugs, including antidepressants and anticonvulsants. The choice, dose, and combination of drugs are influenced by psychiatric comorbidities. Psychological treatment options include psychotherapy, relaxation techniques, and hypnosis. Refractory FAPS patients may benefit from a multidisciplinary pain clinic approach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / diagnosis
  • Abdominal Pain / physiopathology
  • Abdominal Pain / psychology
  • Abdominal Pain / therapy*
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Humans
  • Psychotherapy
  • Syndrome