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J Pediatr. 2015 Mar;166(3):684-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.11.039. Epub 2014 Dec 31.

Prevalence of functional gastrointestinal disorders in infants and toddlers.

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Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Electronic address:
Department of Pediatrics, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA.
Division of Adolescent Medicine and Behavioral Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.



To determine the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms suggestive of an infant/toddler functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID) as reported by parents in a representative community sample.


Mothers (n = 320) of children aged 0-3 years old were recruited in the US and completed a questionnaire about their child's and their own gastrointestinal symptoms.


By Rome criteria, 27% of infants/toddlers qualified for FGIDs. Infant regurgitation was the most common disorder in infants and functional constipation in toddlers. No age, sex, or race differences were found in FGID diagnoses. Compared with those who did not meet Rome criteria, toddlers with FGID had lower quality of life (M = 80.1 vs M = 90.3, P < .001), increased medical visits (M = 0.38 vs 0.14; P < .05), mental health visits (M = 0.29 vs 0.06; P < .05), and hospital stays (M = 0.35 vs 0.06; P < .01). A child was more likely to suffer from hard stools if the parent also reported hard stools (P = .02), but similar association was not found with loose stools.


FGIDs are common in infants and toddlers and can be identified in the general population. They do not vary with sex and race. Quality of life is reduced in those with FGIDs. More research is needed into these largely neglected conditions as it may improve the lives of a significant number of young children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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