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Diet and Functional Abdominal Pain in Children and Adolescents

van Tilburg, Miranda A.L.; Felix, Christopher T.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition: August 2013 - Volume 57 - Issue 2 - p 141–148
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31829ae5c5
Invited Reviews

ABSTRACT Functional abdominal pain (FAP) is a common complaint among children and adolescents. For many patients, symptoms exacerbate with eating. This review discusses findings concerning the role of diet in FAP. The foods that are discussed are divided into 2 major groups: food allergies or intolerances, which focus on milk, gluten, and fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols; and functional foods, which hone in on foods that reduce abdominal pain in adolescents such as fiber, peppermint oil, and probiotics. Lastly, we discuss the role of eating habits in FAP and how the physiology of eating may be the real culprit of symptoms associated with eating.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of North Carolina, North Carolina.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Miranda van Tilburg, PhD, University of North Carolina, 130 Mason Farm, CB7080, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7080 (e-mail:

Received 14 January, 2013

Accepted 6 May, 2013

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The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2013 by European Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology,