Recurrent Abdominal Pain Syndrome in a Cohort of Sri Lankan Children and Adolescents

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Abstract

Recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) is a common problem among children and adolescents. The epidemiology of RAP among Sri Lankan children is unknown. A self-administered parental questionnaire was distributed to 810 randomly selected school children, aged 5–15 years, and 734 (90.6%) were returned. RAP was diagnosed using Apley criteria. Children who fulfilled the criteria were interviewed. Seventy-seven had RAP (10.5%). Of them, 45 (58.4%) had periumbilical pain. The severity was mild to moderate in 45 (58.4%) and severe in 32 (41.6%). Common associated symptoms were headache (42.9%), anorexia (35.1%), lethargy (23.4%) and joint pain (23.4%). Health care consultation among affected children was 70.1%. RAP was significantly higher in those who were exposed to stressful life events and who had a family history of RAP (p < 0.0001). RAP was not associated with school academic performance and participation in sports (p > 0.05). According to our results, the epidemiology and clinical profile of RAP in Sri Lankan children appears to be similar to that in other parts of the world, except for health care consultation, which is higher than previously reported.

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