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Chronic abdominal pain care

Pediatric gastroenterologists (GI) at Dell Children’s deliver multidisciplinary personalized care for children with chronic abdominal pain.

Pediatric GI doctor at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas, with a child who has chronic abdominal pain.

Care for chronic abdominal pain at Dell Children’s

Stomach pain can keep your child from enjoying everyday activities and participating in school. Talk with your child’s pediatrician if your child is having chronic abdominal pain. Sometimes, this pain can come from nerves of the intestines. And these symptoms are caused by pediatric functional abdominal disorders, also called disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBI). Specialists at Dell Children’s Medical Center, part of Ascension Seton, have the expertise to diagnose, treat and manage the care of children who have this type of chronic abdominal pain.

At Dell Children’s, pediatric gastroenterologists thoroughly assess the cause of your child’s pain and identify all the contributing factors. Our goal is to deliver the right diagnosis and create a care plan that gives your child relief from pain.

What is chronic abdominal pain?

Chronic abdominal pain, also known as a disorder of the gut-brain interaction (DGBI), is one the most common causes of belly pain in children. Typically the abdominal pain symptoms will come and go for more than 3 months, and stem from the nervous system of the GI tract. The most common types of DGBI are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and stomach migraines (random, extreme stomach pain).

GI doctors at Dell Children’s have the expertise to diagnose and treat chronic abdominal pain conditions, such as:

  • Constipation
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Functional abdominal pain (FAP)

Diagnosing and treating chronic abdominal pain

At your child’s first visit, we listen to your concerns and discuss your child’s health history. We review your child’s medical records, including any tests performed by their referring doctor. Your child’s doctor may also recommend diagnostic tests, such as urine tests, blood tests or stool tests. Then, we evaluate your child and order additional tests, if needed such as an ultrasound or colonoscopy.

Your child’s doctor will take the time to explain your child’s diagnosis and work with you to create a personalized care plan. Many care plans include medications, diet changes, physical therapy and support for mental and emotional health. Our goal is to provide relief for your child so they can return to school, sports and play.

Specializing in the connection between mental and GI health

At Dell Children’s, we care for the whole child – physical and emotional health. Sometimes, mental and emotional health can affect gut health, in what is known as the brain-gut connection. That’s why a pediatric psychologist is part of your child’s care team. So, while your child’s GI doctor is caring for their physical health, their pediatric psychologist cares for your child’s mental health.

Our pediatric psychologist works with children to care for stress and anxiety that may be making GI symptoms, such as pain, diarrhea or constipation, worse. Your child’s psychologist can teach them about relaxation techniques and other tools they can use to help reduce stress and anxiety. Many times, when a child is better able to cope, their GI symptoms may be reduced.

Chronic abdominal pain care