chapter  40
7 Pages

Recurrent abdominal pain

ByQuentin Spender, Judith Barnsley, Alison Davies, Jenny Murphy

Many affected children may be diagnosed as suffering from a condition with a name that may be more acceptable to parents, such as irritable bowel syndrome or abdominal migraine. An adolescent with abdominal pain may disclose, on detailed questioning, reduced eating and increased exercise, which suggests the possibility of an eating disorder—not at first suspected. When paediatric assessment does not show an identifiable explanation for the pain, the child is more likely to recover if parents can accept that there may be other ways of understanding at least the persistence of the symptoms. Passivity, avoidance and wishful thinking can make the pain more difficult to deal with, whereas actively trying to cope with the pain and adjust to it can make it more tolerable. Identify with the family ways of coping with the pain that keep to a minimum the pain’s interference in the child’s day-to-day life.