Abdominal Pain Program Initial Evaluation

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Abdominal Pain Program Initial Evaluation

All new patients who have experienced pain longer than eight weeks are evaluated in the Abdominal Pain Clinic. Our clinical care program employs a stepped-care model. Patients who have had no previous treatment or diagnostic work-up are generally seen first in our diagnostic clinic where they are evaluated by a pediatric gastroenterologist or advanced practice provider specializing in abdominal pain. 

What should I expect during my child’s first visit?

In this clinic, your child will undergo a complete history and physical examination and review of previous medical records. When indicated, your child may be tried on medications or may undergo further diagnostic tests to evaluate for the presence of disease as the cause of pain or other symptoms. Patients who do not respond to medicines or who are severely debilitated and who do not have a specific disease diagnosed are scheduled for evaluation in our Multidisciplinary Clinic.

Evaluation and Assessment

In the Multidisciplinary Clinic, your child will undergo joint evaluation by a pediatric gastroenterologist and a pediatric psychologist to identify biologic, psychologic, and social factors which may be contributing to his/her abdominal pain. The biologic assessment includes a history and physical, as well as medical tests if needed. The biologic evaluation also involves review of past medical tests, including a new evaluation of previous biopsies (if available) to identify inflammation or irritation that may contribute to symptoms even though not indicative of a distinct disease.


For the evaluation of potential psychologic and social contributors, you and your child will be asked to complete several questionnaires. These evaluate problems related to sleep, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, coping skills and interactions with others that may contribute to the onset and/or continuation of pain. Together, the medical, psychological, and social information gathered helps us to develop a personalized evaluation and comprehensive treatment plan for your child.

Length of Time for Evaluation

A new Multidisciplinary Clinic evaluation often takes two hours or more to complete. You will leave with a plan designed specifically for your child. This plan may involve a variety of components, including further testing, medicines, psychological treatments focused on coping and pain management, and/or biofeedback training. We also may refer to specialists in other areas (e.g. therapeutic massage, physical therapy, sleep medicine), as needed.

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