The association between childhood abdominal pain (CAP) andadult irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is not well understood. StuartHowell, BA (Hons), MPH, and colleagues investigated this relationshipand reported their results in the American Journal of Gastroenterology(September 2005). Data were collected from a1972 birth cohort in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the participantswere evaluated at ages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, and 26. IBS(as defined by the Manning Criteria) was assessed using symptomdata collected from each participant at age 26.
A history of CAP, as reported by 18.1% of children, wasslightly more common in girls and appeared to peak betweenthe ages of 7 and 9. IBS at age 26 was significantly more commonamong patients with a history of CAP between ages 7 and9, compared with participants with no history.
The association between CAP and adult IBS was notaltered by adjustment for gender, socioeconomic status,psychiatric disorder at age 26, childhood emotional distress,or mother's score on the Malaise Inventory. These resultssuggested that childhood CAP can progress to adult IBS insome individuals.