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Functional abdominal pain: an integrative review study from a biopsychosocial view

Bianca Aguiar Rodrigues Silva Patrícia da Graça Leite Speridião Karina Franco Zihlmann About the authors



Abdominal pain is one of the most frequent complaints in Pediatric Gastroenterology and may be considered an intricate symptom difficult of immediate differential diagnosis. To perform an integrative review of functional abdominal pain in children.


It included original and empirical national and international articles, between 2006 and 2016, from the Virtual Health Library, Virtual Health Library - Psychology Brazil (BVS-Psi Brazil) and Pubmed databases, in children aged 6 to 10 years old. The descriptors were: functional abdominal pain, children, gastroenterology. The thematic content was analyzed in the categories: etiology, prevalence, diagnosis process, treatment and intervention strategies and evaluation of coping strategies. Thirty-three articles on functional abdominal pain were found. Factors associated with somatization, anxiety, depression and children’s bowel habits were highlighted and should be carefully evaluated by health professionals. Parents may negatively influence the treatment when they adopt encouraging, monitoring, and hypervigilance attitudes.


Behavioral, dietary and pharmacological approaches are widely recommended in the treatment of functional abdominal pain. Regarding the emotional behavior, the psychological approach seems to promote good therapeutic results.

Abdominal pain; Children; Gastroenterology; Integrative review

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