One hundred and two children with recurrent abdominal pain were studied and followed through hospitalization. The pain in this group was variable, with no consistent pattern in time, duration, and intensity. It was located in the periumbilical region in 50 of the patients. Associated symptoms frequently included headache, pallor, nausea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, and poor appetite. The principal physical finding was tenderness on deep palpation over various sections of the abdomen. Proctoscopic findings in 88 of 90 patients examined were rectal dilatation, hyperemic areas, pallor, lymphoid hyperplasia, pellet stools, edema, and friability. There were no other abnormal laboratory or x-ray findings. Various behavioral manifestations were observed in this group of children. Some of the children were able to delineate points of stress as precipitants of episodes of pain.
During hospitalization there was total abatement of intestinal symptoms in 53% of the children and there was a decline in symptomatology in another 38%.
It is proposed that the abdominal manifestations of this group of patients can be described as the irritable bowel syndrome in childhood.
- Received June 9, 1969.
- Accepted January 2, 1970.
- Copyright © 1970 by the American Academy of Pediatrics