All children have the occasional stomachache, but some have them more frequently. While stomach pain can be caused by a serious illness, it may also be the result of a condition called functional abdominal pain. If your child has complained about stomach pain repeatedly for two months or more, they could have this condition.


The term “functional” means that while the pain is real, there is no infection, inflammation or blockage causing it. The exact cause is not known. One theory is that the pain comes from overly sensitive nerves in the digestive tract. These nerves send pain signals to the brain during normal bodily processes, such as the stretching of the stomach after a meal or bloating from gas.


Functional abdominal pain is very common, and nearly a quarter of all children who go to the doctor for stomach or intestinal problems are diagnosed with it.