High Prevalence of Nausea in Children With Pain-Associated Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Are Rome Criteria Applicable?

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The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of nausea in pediatric patients with pain-associated functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs), examine the effect on social and school functioning, and examine the applicability of pediatric Rome III criteria.


A total of 221 pediatric patients (6–18 years of age) with chronic abdominal pain prospectively completed a demographic, history, and gastrointestinal symptom questionnaire adapted from the Questionnaire on Pediatric Gastrointestinal Symptoms (QPGS). The 6-item, revised Pediatric Migraine Disability Assessment Score tool was used to assess the effect of symptoms on school, home, and social disability. Rome III criteria were applied to all subjects.


A total of 183 patients with pain and nausea for a minimum of 2 months were identified. Ninety-six patients were studied after excluding those with vomiting and/or organic disease. Among these, 53% had nausea at least 2 times per week and 28% experienced daily nausea. Frequency of nausea was significantly correlated with poor school and social functioning, and uniquely predicted social disability beyond pain. Although 87% met adult Rome criteria for functional dyspepsia, only 29% met corresponding pediatric Rome criteria. Additionally, 22% met the criteria for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)-diarrhea, 13% for IBS-constipation, 13% for abdominal migraine, and 31% were classified as having functional abdominal pain. Pediatric IBS-diarrhea and IBS-constipation overlapped in 5% of patients.


Nausea is a prevalent symptom in patients with pain-associated FGIDs and correlates with poor school and social functioning. There is substantial overlap among FGIDs in children with nausea.

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