FUNCTIONAL ABDOMINAL PAIN CAMPAIGN
New healthcare campaign launches across Europe to raise awareness of Functional Abdominal Pain in children: an underserved area of medicine and leading cause for school absence worldwide
The European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) in collaboration with the General Paediatric Societies and the National Societies for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (PGHAN) in Europe, announces the launch of a new campaign to raise awareness of Functional Abdominal Pain in children.
Commenting on the campaign, Ulrich Baumann, President of ESPGHAN states “ESPGHAN is a multiprofessional organisation whose aim is to improve the health of children in Europe”.
“We look at the daily problems in primary paediatric care and in this instance, focus on the common problem of functional abdominal pain. It can be such a devastating and troublesome issue for families, and we need to do something about it. This campaign, together with the collaboration of the general paediatric and national PGHAN societies aims to do just that”.
Functional abdominal pain affects 30% of school-aged children and is the most common condition presented to general pediatricians. Functional abdominal pain disorder results in low quality of life for the affected child which can negatively impact their families too. It is associated with increased school absence and comorbid mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Understanding the importance of this issue, ESPGHAN takes action to increase knowledge and raise awareness of this issue across Europe. This has resulted in the development of educational materials such as leaflets, videos, and posters that will be distributed in local languages by the general paediatric societies and the national societies for PGHAN.
“This is one of the most common reasons for visiting general paediatricians, but also for referring children to paediatric gastroenterologists” explains Sanja Kolacek, ESPGHAN Liaison Officer. “Therefore, the aim of this campaign is not only to educate but to raise awareness to the general public.”
“Functional abdominal pain is a benign but tedious condition affecting the everyday life not only of the affected child but for the whole family. If it is approached in the right way, more than 80% of children will be pain free and well.”
Regarding the management and diagnosis of functional abdominal pain, an important message is to avoid over-diagnosis and the risk of children undergoing unnecessary invasive diagnosis procedures. Providing reassurance and support to affected children and their families and if necessary, incorporating other treatments, will help up to 80% of children to get better within 2 years of seeing a doctor.
When asked about the importance of the campaign, Professor Marc A. Benninga, Paediatric Gastroenterologist and ESPGHAN expert explains ‘functional abdominal pain is very common all over the world. Sometimes it's intermittent, but it often impacts quality of life. More anxiety, more depression and a lower quality of life is reported by these children.’