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Feature Article

Managing functional abdominal pain syndrome: not just a pain in the guts

Hooi C Ee

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Abstract

Functional abdominal pain syndrome belongs to a group of challenging conditions causing severe disabling symptoms without demonstrable objective abnormalities. An effective doctor–patient relationship is absolutely necessary and often sufficient to manage these cases.

Key Points

  • Functional abdominal pain syndrome is a severe disabling condition often associated with complex psychosocial factors.
  • Patients should be assessed in a nonjudgemental manner and their symptoms appropriately acknowledged.
  • Investigation results are normal and patients must be reassured that all serious differentials have been excluded.
  • Treatment goals are to establish realistic expectations for symptom control and to encourage self-determination.
  • An effective doctor–patient relationship is central to managing these cases.

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