Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Infantile colic, regurgitation, and constipation: an early traumatic insult in the development of functional gastrointestinal disorders in children?


Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) are defined as a variable combination of chronic or recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms not explained by structural or biochemical abnormalities. Infantile colic, gastroesophageal reflux, and constipation are the most common FGIDs that lead to referral to a pediatrician during the first 6 months of life and are often responsible for hospitalization, feeding changes, use of drugs, parental anxiety, and loss of parental working days with relevant social consequences. We performed a retrospective study on patients referred for recurrent abdominal pain from January 2002 trough December 2009 to our Pediatric Gastroenterology Outpatient Unit. The population studied was matched with healthy control without history of recurrent abdominal pain, enrolled among pediatricians practicing primary health care. History of infantile colic, regurgitation, and functional constipation was detected respectively in 26.41, 25.31, and 30.16 % of children diagnosed with FGIDs compared to 11.34, 12.85, and 11.76 % of healthy children.

Conclusion: According to our data, children with a history of gastrointestinal infantile distress have a higher prevalence of FGIDs years later.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.



Functional gastrointestinal disorders


  1. 1.

    Di Mauro A, Neu J, Riezzo G, Raimondi F, Martinelli D, Francavilla R, Indrio F (2013) Gastrointestinal function development and microbiota. Ital J Pediatr 39(15):1–7. doi:10.1186/1824-7288-39-15

  2. 2.

    Iacono G, Merolla R, D’Amico D, Bonci E, Cavataio F, Di Prima L, Scalici C, Indinnimeo L, Averna MR, Carroccio A (2005) Paediatric study group on gastrointestinal symptoms in infancy gastrointestinal symptoms in infancy: a population-based prospective study. Dig Liver Dis 37(6):432–438

  3. 3.

    Indrio F, Di Mauro A, Riezzo G, Civardi E, Intini C, Corvaglia L, Ballardini E, Bisceglia M, Cinquetti M, Brazzoduro E, Del Vecchio A, Tafuri S, Francavilla R (2014) Prophylactic Use of a probiotic in the prevention of colic, regurgitation, and functional constipation: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4367

  4. 4.

    Partty A, Kalliomaki M, Salminen S, Isolauri E (2013) Infant distress and development of functional gastrointestinal disorders in childhood: is there a connection? JAMA Pediatr 167(10):977–8

  5. 5.

    Rasquin A, Di Lorenzo C, Forbes D, Guiraldes E, Hyams JS, Staiano A, Walker LS (2006) Childhood functional gastrointestinal disorders: child/adolescent. Gastroenterology 130(5):1527–1537

  6. 6.

    Rasquin-Weber A, Hyman PE, Cucchiara S, Fleisher DR, Hyams JS, Milla PJ, Staiano A (1999) Childhood functional gastrointestinal disorders. Gut 45:60–68

  7. 7.

    Savino F, Castagno E, Bretto R, Brondello C, Palumeri E, Oggero R (2005) A prospective 10-year study on children who had severe infantile colic. Acta Paediatr Suppl 94(449):129–132

  8. 8.

    Shamir R, James-Roberts IS, Di Lorenzo C, Burns AJ, Thapar N, Indrio F, Riezzo G, Raimondi F, Di Mauro A, Francavilla R, Leuchter RH, Darque A, Hüppi PS, Heine RG, Bellaïche M, Levy M, Jung C, Alvarez M, Hovish K (2013) Infant crying, colic, and gastrointestinal discomfort in early childhood: a review of the evidence and most plausible mechanisms. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 57(1):1

Download references

Contributors’ list

Dr Indrio and Dr Francavilla had both equally primary responsibility for protocol development, patient screening, enrollment, outcome assessment, preliminary data analysis, and writing of the manuscript. Drs Di Mauro and Riezzo participated in the development of the protocol and analytic framework for the study. Dr Cavallo supervised the design and execution of the study and contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

Author information

Correspondence to Flavia Indrio.

Additional information

Communicated by Peter de Winter

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Indrio, F., Di Mauro, A., Riezzo, G. et al. Infantile colic, regurgitation, and constipation: an early traumatic insult in the development of functional gastrointestinal disorders in children?. Eur J Pediatr 174, 841–842 (2015).

Download citation


  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders
  • Infantile colic
  • Constipation
  • Regurgitation