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Chronic Functional Abdominal Pain (CFAP)

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Just wondering if anyone here has dealt with a condition known as Chronic Functional Abdominal Pain (CFAP) in their kids? And if so, do you have any research, resources or experiences you could share?


A good friend of mine's 10-year-old DD was just diagnosed with this and, never having heard of it before, I looked it up. Not unlike PANDAS/PANs and a number of other "clinical" diagnoses, this seems to be a "diagnosis of exclusion," i.e., there's nothing structural or biome-wise causing chronic pain in the gut? Then, here, take this anti-depressant, try meditation, and call me in a week and let me know how it's going. :angry:


I can't find anything that suggests an auto-immune genesis or component to this condition, but when my friend told me about it, alarm bells went off for me. Incidentally, the DD's latest "event" was on the heels of having contracted two viruses that went around her school and her family, neither of which did anything other than lay her siblings and parents low for a few days, but she wound up in the hospital because of the pain that followed.


Poor kid's missed 6 weeks of school, is completely incapacitated, and her parents are about to lose it, as well, with the stress of it all. Any information or suggestions gladly received! You guys are the bomb when it comes to these "medical mysteries." :wub:



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Hi Nancy-




I think you know some of our story. My older was actually diagnosed with this- it was pandas. What happened was- younger sister had strep, and textbook pandas onset, very severe, very quickly. At the same time my older one, 3rd grade at the time, also had strep. She also started some really moody behavior which we chalked up to family stress from sister's pandas (wrong). She also started getting stomach aches. The stomach aches started becoming debilitating in the sense that they prevented her from going out. She went to school, but really slowed up on extracurriculars and social things. Very out of character. At that point we never thought of pandas, we were new to the game. We took her several times to a pediatric GI, his diagnosis was Functional abdominal pain, which he said was sometimes triggered by illness. After months of this, with no relief, I took her to Dr L, who agreed to try antibiotics. Well guess what- the stomach aches and other issues disappeared. Sadly, a few months later, after the flu, full blown pandas.


My thought would be- do the parents see ANYTHING ocd/anxiety related with the stomach? My daughter did have some pain, but A LOT of the issue was not wanting to go places due to the fear of the pain. Its not so much that she expressed this, but that in some ways it was similar to what my other daughter was going through. If bells are going off for you- I would think it is worth looking into...

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This topic was just discussed on one of my Yahoo groups yesterday. One mom was able to resolve her daughter's long standing stomach pain with an anti-candida diet. Food allergies were also discussed, with dairy and gluten as the most common offenders.


If their daughter is willing to eliminate some foods for a while, this could be something to try.

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May not be a complete/long term solution if it works at all, but it's always worth trying a peppermint oil capsule. We keep some in the cupboard and I take one any time I have a belly ache or feel a bit sick for some reason, they work like magic for me.

Of course, it sounds like your friend's daughter's problem is on a rather different scale from ordinary random stomach-aches, but still it's worth a try, if it might be able to give her a bit of relief while they're waiting for answers.

You can also get slow release ones to be taken every day, which one study found to be a pretty effective treatment for IBS, better than the current standard medical things - so they really do seem to be quite powerful stuff.

Edited by Wombat140
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Nancy, could be that there's something inflaming the vagus nerve, which runs across the stomach. That inflammation could be anywhere along the vagus nerve. My DD had a sinus infection that caused nerve issues in her legs. Pedi looked in ears and throat but never the nose, dismissed the complaint of sinus issues and referred us the neurologist. LLMD looked in her nose, Rx'd abx and two doses later, leg issues resolved. He speculates that there are inflamed nerves or pressure against the frontal lobe that are somehow interfering with nerve signals in a different part of the body.


As you already know, naming a set of symptoms just for the sake of having a medical name for "I don't know" is useless. Hopefully your friend can find an inquisitive doctor who's willing to explore inflammation/infection and not blame the child if/when anti-depressants aren't the answer.

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I really will have to look up where exactly the vagus nerve does go, I'm constantly being surprised by the variety of things it's mentioned in connection with.


Oh, my mum also wondered if they've considered migraine - apparently, in children it very often affects the stomach more than the head I used to have them once a week for a couple of years when I was about 12, though with me it was mainly vomiting but apparently it can be pains in the stomach too. It'd start with a bit of a headache and generally feeling yucky, but within a few hours it'd have stopped that and gone on to feeling sick, and then being sick. Mind you, migraine's usually described as an intermittent thing, recurring attacks every so many days or weeks, whereas you make it sound as if what your friend's daughter has is continuous? Or isn't it?


If it is migraine there are quite a few medical options for treating it; or, for a lot of people, it's possible to identify particular foods that set it off, in which case avoiding those will make things a lot better and may get rid of the problem completely. The usual suspects are chocolate, citrus fruit and cheese (and red wine, but that's not going to be the culprit in this case! :-) ), and also sugar - too much sugar or sugar on an empty stomach. It can also be allergy-related in which case it could be anything, but most often it's just those things.

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