Chronic Abdominal Pain

chronic abdominal painAbdominal pain is very common in children. Up to 10-25% of school-age children suffer from chronic abdominal pain. Abdominal pain can be mild and sometimes severe requiring high dose of pain killer. It is defined as 3 or more bouts of pain severe enough to limit activities, over a a period of 3 months. It implies no known cause has been identified. In other word, biochemical markers and imagings have failed to detect the abnormalities that would explain the cause of the abdominal pain. Hence the diagnosis is by exclusion of other known causes. The pain is usually generalised and lack of focal tenderness. Although it is not life threatening, the chronicity of pain can be troublesome to the patient affecting both physical and mental health. It has a big impact on patients’ daily activities and quality of health. Additionally, it also add on burden to the family members for example loss of work from parents and multiple clinic consultations.


Children with a long-standing history of chronic abdominal pain tend to be anxious and hypervigilant. Often they feel despondent and have low moods and are easily fatigued. There is no universal effective treatment of children with recurrent abdominal pain. Education, reassurance, cognitive behavioural therapy may be useful in alleviating the pain. Anti spasmodic medications are sometimes helpful in alleviating the pain.


Most of the time, we can discover the cause of your child’s abdominal pain. Food allergies and intolerances (milk, egg, wheat, soya, fructose, lactose, sucrose) are usually the culprits. Other causes include overt constipation (can be difficult to diagnose), helicobacter pylori gastritis, coeliac disease (autoimmune gluten hypersensitivity), pancreatitis and non-specific abdominal pain (when all common causes have been ruled out). We will aim to discover the cause of your child’s abdominal pain by carrying out various investigations, such as Abdominal ultrasound, Hydrogen breath test and Allergy test.

Below is a video explaining why we perform an ultrasound and what to expect during the procedure.

Our private clinic in Charlwood is perfectly located to see patients from all nearby areas, including Chichester, Banstead, Dorking, Epsom, Guildford, Redhill, Southampton, Portsmouth, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, and Epsom.