Open Access Research article

Quality of life and health care consultation in 13 to 18 year olds with abdominal pain predominant functional gastrointestinal diseases

Niranga Manjuri Devanarayana1*, Shaman Rajindrajith2 and Marc A Benninga3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Thalagolla Road, 11010 Ragama, Sri Lanka

2 Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Thalagolla Road, 11010 Ragama, Sri Lanka

3 Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Emma Children’s Hospital, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Gastroenterology 2014, 14:150  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-14-150

Published: 21 August 2014



Abdominal pain predominant functional gastrointestinal diseases (AP-FGD) are commonly seen in the paediatric age group. It has significant impact on daily activities of affected children. Main objective of this study was to assess the health related quality of life (HRQoL) in children with AP-FGD.


This was a cross sectional survey conducted in children aged 13–18 years, in four randomly selected schools in Western province of Sri Lanka. Data was collected using a previously validated, self-administered questionnaire. It had questions on symptoms, HRQoL and health care consultation. AP-FGD were diagnosed using Rome III criteria.


A total of 1850 questionnaires were included in the analysis [males 1000 (54.1%), mean age 14.4 years and SD 1.3 years]. Of them, 305 (16.5%) had AP-FGD [irritable bowel syndrome = 91(4.9%), functional dyspepsia = 11 (0.6%), abdominal migraine = 37 (1.9%) and functional abdominal pain = 180 (9.7%)]. Lower HRQoL scores for physical (83.6 vs. 91.4 in controls), social (85.0 vs. 92.7), emotional (73.6 vs. 82.7) and school (75.0 vs. 82.5) functioning domains, and lower overall scores (79.6 vs. 88.0) were seen in children with AP-FGD (p < 0.001). A weak but significant negative correlation was observed between HRQoL score and severity of abdominal pain (r = −0.24, p < 0.0001). Eighty five children (27.9%) had sought healthcare for AP-FGD. Factors determining healthcare seeking were presence of abdominal bloating and vomiting (p < 0.05).


Children with AP-FGD have lower quality of life in all 4 domains. Those with severe symptoms have lower HRQoL. Approximately 28% of children with AP-FGD seek healthcare for their symptoms.

Pain abdomen; Child; Functional gastrointestinal disorder; Health care consultation; Quality of life; Teenage