Management of functional abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome in children and adolescents

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 Jun;4(3):293-304. doi: 10.1586/egh.10.28.


Functional abdominal pain (FAP) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are among the most commonly diagnosed medical problems in pediatrics. Symptom-based Rome III criteria for FAP and IBS have been validated and help the clinician in making a positive diagnosis. The majority of patients with mild complaints improve with reassurance and time. For a distinct subset of patients with more severe and disabling illness, finding effective treatment for these disorders remains a challenge. Over the years, a wide range of therapies have been proposed and studied. The lack of a single, proven intervention highlights the complex interplay of biopsychosocial factors probably involved in the development of childhood FAP and IBS, and the need for a multidisciplinary, integrated approach. This article reviews the current literature on the efficacy of pharmacologic, dietary and psychosocial interventions for FAP and IBS in children and adolescents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / diagnosis
  • Abdominal Pain / diet therapy
  • Abdominal Pain / drug therapy*
  • Abdominal Pain / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diet therapy
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / psychology
  • Male
  • Parasympatholytics / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Parasympatholytics