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Keywords:

  • functional abdominal pain;
  • functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID);
  • probiotics

Aim:  Functional abdominal pain (FAP) is a frequent condition affecting 10–20% of children and can be considered within the classification of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGID). The objective of this study was to determine the effect of daily supplementation with the probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 in children with FAP.

Methods:  The children (aged 6–16 years) were screened for FAP as defined in the Rome III criteria and 60 patients were recruited in this double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. The children were randomly allocated to receive either L. reuteri (2 × 108 CFU/day) or identical placebo for 4 weeks followed by a 4-week follow-up period without supplementation. Frequency and intensity of pain was self-recorded by the subjects.

Results:  The L. reuteri-supplemented children had significantly lower pain intensity compared with the placebo controls.

Conclusions:  Supplementation with L. reuteri reduced perceived abdominal pain intensity, which may encourage clinicians to use this probiotic in children with FAP.