Recollection of childhood abdominal pain in adults with functional gastrointestinal disorders

Denesh K. Chitkara, Nicholas J. Talley, Cathy Schleck, Alan R. Zinsmeister, Nilay D. Shah, G. Richard Locke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective. It is hypothesized that adults who can recall abdominal pain as children are at risk of experiencing a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID), but this is not specific to any particular FGID. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between recollecting abdominal pain as a child and experiencing a FGID. Material and methods. A valid self-reported questionnaire of GI symptoms was mailed to a random population-based sample in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Logistic regression models adjusting for age, gender, body mass index (BMI), somatization, and other factors were used to estimate the odds ratios (ORs) for having a FGID in individuals recalling bouts of stomach or abdominal pain in childhood (before age 15). Results. Overall, 2298 (55%) of a total of 4194 eligible adult subjects returned a completed questionnaire. Of the respondents, 213 (9%) recalled experiencing abdominal pain as children. Adults who recalled experiencing abdominal pain in childhood had greater odds for reporting symptoms of a FGID (OR 1.9; 95% CI 1.4-2.7). Recalling abdominal pain in childhood was significantly associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (OR 2.5; 95% CI 1.7-3.6) but not gastroesophageal reflux, dyspepsia, constipation, or diarrhea, adjusting for age, gender, BMI, somatic symptoms, marital status, and education. Conclusions. Recollection of childhood abdominal pain is specifically associated with IBS in adults. This suggests that a proportion of adults with IBS may have onset of symptoms of abdominal pain during childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-307
Number of pages7
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Abdominal pain
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Pediatrics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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