Functional Abdominal Pain—Child
(Centrally mediated abdominal pain syndrome, CAPS, Visceral hypersensitivity)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Functional abdominal pain is either:
The pain often gets in the way of daily activities and attending school.
This problem is likely caused by many factors, such as:
Some things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Symptoms vary from child to child. Pain may come and go or be steady. It may appear suddenly or slowly get worse over time.
Problems may be:
You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to suspect the diagnosis.
Stool tests will be done to rule out other problems. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
The pain will often go away with time. The goal of treatment is to find and manage triggers. The overall goal is to return a child to normal activity. Options are:
Emotions and stress can trigger abdominal pain or make it worse. Therapy can help a child manage stress and better cope with pain.
Medicine may be used to ease symptoms. Options are:
There are no known methods to prevent this health problem.
American College of Gastroenterology
Healthy Children— American Academy of Pediatrics
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Caring For Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
Functional abdominal pain in children. American College of Gastroenterology website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed August 30, 2021.
Functional abdominal pain in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/functional-abdominal-pain-in-children. Accessed August 30, 2021.
Functional abdominal pain syndrome. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders website. Available at: https://www.iffgd.org/lower-gi-disorders/functional-abdominal-pain-syndrome.html. Accessed August 30, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kuenn, MD