How Prevalent Are Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders?

If you have a child with a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID), you may wonder how common these kinds of conditions are among other children. This article quickly breaks down some of the most recent numbers.

  • Of 644 patients older than four years seen by pediatric gastroenterologists in their outpatient practices, 486 (75%) met diagnostic criteria for at least one functional GI disorder.1
  • Of these patients, the most common FGIDs they presented with were:
    • Functional abdominal pain (FAP).
    • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • In the United States, 10–24% of all patients struggle with these conditions.
  • In Canada, 19.8% of the population has them.
  • In the United Kingdom, 8–25% of people do.
  • As many as 19% of school-aged children have one of these conditions.
  • Worldwide, 13.5% of patients have a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID).
  • FAP is the second-leading cause of school absences.
  • There is a reciprocal relationship between anxiety and these conditions:2
    • Patients with IBS and FAP have more stress.
    • Patients with stress tend to have more functional GI disorders.
  • FGIDs contribute to a decreased quality of life in the following areas:
    • Physical health
    • Mental health
    • Social relationships
    • Environment
    • Overall aspects

As these numbers show, your child is not alone in what they are going through. While having a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID) can be very painful and the process of finding relief frustrating, there is hope and a solution. Read about it here.



1. Rouster, A.S., Karpinski, A.C., Silver, D., Monagas, J. & Hyman, P.E. (2016). Functional gastrointestinal disorders dominate pediatric gastroenterology outpatient practice. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 62(6), 847–851.

2. Korterink, J.J., Diederen, K.D., Benninga, M.A., & Tabbers, M.M. (2015). Epidemiology of pediatric functional abdominal pain disorders: A meta-analysis. PLoS One, 10(5), e0126982.