DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Is it possible for children to have irritable bowel syndrome? My 9-year-old son often complains of stomach pain, but we can’t seem to find a cause or pattern.
ANSWER: Although irritable bowel syndrome is possible in a 9-year-old, it is very rare. Stomach pain, on the other hand, is quite common in children that age. When stomach pain persists, it should be evaluated. If you have not already done so, make an appointment for your son to see his primary care provider. If necessary, that individual may recommend that he see a gastroenterologist who specializes in caring for children. Even if the exact source of stomach pain cannot be identified, there often are ways it can be effectively managed.
Many children have stomach pain. Usually it is not a symptom of a larger medical problem, and the pain often goes away on its own. But when stomach pain in children lasts, it does become a concern, particularly when it continues to be a problem for three months or more.