Affiliation: Pediatric Department, University of Messina, Italy.
Chronic abdominal pain (CAP) is a prevalent disorder related to functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs). In pediatric setting, CAP is a common presenting problem among children and adolescents ages 2 to 18 years with a median prevalence rate of 12%. It was proposed that CAP is the result of the altered pain sensation due to a dysfunction of the brain-gut axis after a complex interaction among biological, psychological and social factors. Children with CAP experience decrease in quality of life compared to children with identifiable organic disease such as inflammatory bowel disease. Despite treatment, 30% of children with CAP have long-lasting complaints with evidence that CAP is a risk factor for the occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome in adults. Efforts have subsequently been made to standardize the diagnostic criteria and adequate follow-up. CAP is associated with significative impairment with considerable impact on selfreported quality of life. The direct and indirect costs are not known in pediatric population and the access to investigations it’s frequent. A more appropriate use of Rome III criteria would allow for a clinical diagnosis. The focus of this article will be to report the updated criteria for the diagnosis, follow-up and treatment of this condition.