Recurrent Abdominal Pain in Children

Recurrent tummy (abdominal) pain is common in children. One to two of every 10 children will experience it at some time. Children with recurrent tummy pain are often worried (anxious) or sad (depressed).

Is recurrent abdominal pain the same as chronic abdominal pain?

Most doctors use the term 'recurrent abdominal pain' to mean that your child has experienced tummy pain on and off, over two months or more. Many doctors now use the term 'recurrent abdominal pain' as a label only for those cases of on-and-off tummy pain for which no other medical cause has been found.

How can so much pain have no physical cause?

Pain is created in the brain out of a mixture of nerve and chemical signals. These include signals from injured tissues - but these do not provide the only 'input' to the pain centres of the brain. These areas also receive input from the thinking and emotional parts of the brain, and we know that these can modify and even create pain.

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Dr Mary Lowth
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Anjum Gandhi
Document ID:
29403 (v1)
Last Checked:
30 May 2017
Next Review:
26 June 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.