The Functional Abdominal Pain Syndrome is characterized by frequent, recurring, or continuous episodes of abdominal pain lasting for at least 6 months. No other gut symptoms are present, and there is no evidence of an underlying structural disease after a thorough investigation.


Criteria for the Functional Abdominal Pain Syndrome: All of the following (Table 53.14, page 1364, Ford 1997):

(1) frequently recurrent or continuous abdominal pain for >= 6 months

(2) incomplete or no relationship of pain with physiological events (eating, defecation, menses)

(3) the abdominal pain causes some loss of daily social functioning

(4) no evidence of organic disease to explain the pain despite a thorough examination

(5) insufficient criteria to establish the diagnosis of an alternative functional gastrointestinal disorder.


Additional features:

(1) The pattern of pain does not fit any known disease.

(2) The pain description may include different pains of different characteristics, often at different sites.

(3) Often associated with abnormal illness behavior.

(4) Often associated with a significant psychiatric disorder.

(5) The pain often does not interfere with sleep or leisure activities, but will prevent the person from working or doing other duties.

(6) The patient may have a history of multiple surgical operations for abdominal pains.

(7) The onset of pain may be found to coincide with episodes of personal stress.


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