Prevalence and Progression of Recurrent Abdominal Pain, From Early Childhood to Adolescence.

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Little is known about the natural history of childhood recurrent abdominal pain (RAP). We investigated the prevalence and progression of childhood RAP and its association with Rome III abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorders (AP-FGID) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) during adolescence.We collected data from a prospective population-based birth cohort study of 4089 children, born from 1994 through 1996 in Sweden. We analyzed data from 2455 children with complete follow up at ages 1, 2, 12, and 16 years and no parent-reported diagnoses of inflammatory bowel diseases or celiac disease at ages 12 or 16 years. A subpopulation of 2374 children who had answered questions based on the Rome III criteria at age 16 years was identified. We assessed RAP at 3 assessment points and defined it as parent-reported attacks of colic in early childhood (1-2 years) and self-reported weekly abdominal pain at ages 12 years and 16 years. Abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorder at age 16 years was defined according to the Rome III criteria.RAP was reported by 26.2% of children on at least 1 of 3 assessment points, of which 11.3% reported symptoms more than once. Children with RAP at 12 years had persistent symptoms at 16 years in 44.9% of cases and increased risks for RAP (relative risk [RR], 2.2; 95% CI, 1.7-2.8), any AP-FGID (RR, 2.6; 95% CI, 1.9-3.6), and IBS (RR, 3.2; 95% CI, 2.0-5.1) at 16 years. Early childhood RAP was not significantly associated with any outcome.RAP affects many children from early childhood through age 16 years, but most children do not have persistent symptoms throughout childhood. RAP at age 12 years is a risk factor for RAP, any Rome III AP-FGID and IBS, at age 16 years.

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