Chronic Abdominal Pain


Chronic Abdominal Pain is a type of pain that has been active for more than 3 months, and usually occurs in the following population:

  • check-mark-1Children turning 5 years old
  • check-mark-110-15% of Children between 5 to 16 years of age, especially those between 8 to 12 years
  • check-mark-12% of adults, mainly women

Possible causes

Typically, if the abdominal pain has been persistent for more than 3 months, patients have been to a doctor and had typical causes identified. Even if the cause could not be identified, only around 10% of people experiencing Chronic Abdominal Pain have a specific physical cause (see a physician for more information), the rest of that ailing population have something called Functional Abdominal Pain.

Functional Abdominal Pain

Functional Abdominal Pain is a type of pain that has existed for more than 6 months and is associated with no specific evidence of a particular physical disorder (such as Celiac Disease). This pain is neither associated with bodily functions like bowel movements, eating or menstruation; nor is it associated with medication or toxin.

Functional Abdominal Pain usually is severe enough to disrupt one’s life. There is no known exact cause for this type of pain. However, factors such as genetics, life stressors and underlying mental conditions (like depression) can all contribute to this pain.

Common Physical Causes

In Children:

  • check-mark-1Constipation
  • check-mark-1Lactose intolerance
  • check-mark-1GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease)

In Young Adults:

  • check-mark-1Crohn’s Disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases
  • check-mark-1Gallbladder disorder like Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
  • check-mark-1Hepatitis or other liver disorders
  • check-mark-1Indigestion (also referred to as dyspepsia) caused by conditions such as a peptic ulcer, or medication such as aspirin and NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
  • check-mark-1Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • check-mark-1Irritated Stomach (often due to acidic drinks, NSAIDs, and spicy foods)

In Older Adults:

  • check-mark-1Colon Cancer
  • check-mark-1Pancreatic Cancer
  • check-mark-1Stomach Cancer
  • check-mark-1Ovarian Cancer
  • check-mark-1Menopause (for women with disorders like endometriosis)

When to see us

Be aware of warning signs in addition to loss of appetite, jaundice and/or swelling. If you are experiencing consistent pain that is getting worse, loss of appetite, jaundice and/or swelling, you should come see us within a few days to a week, for it is very likely that a physical cause is present.