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, 2,298 (55%) of a total of 4,194 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 functional gastrointestinal disorder (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 [“indigestion”], constipation, or diarrhea, adjusting for age, gender, BMI, somatic symptoms, marital status, and education. [Note: an odds ratio of 1.0 signifies no difference. The OR of 2.5 indicates 150% greater likelihood of IBS diagnosis than those without childhood abdominal pain.]
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.
Source: Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, Nov 2008;17:1-7. PMID: 19016078, by Chitkara DK, Talley NJ, Schleck C, Zinsmeister AR, Shah ND, Locke GR 3rd. University of North Carolina Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Enteric Neuroscience Program, Mayo Clinic, Rochester; Mayo Clinic, Florida; Divisions of Biostatistics and Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.