Background & Aims: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), abdominal pain of unknown origin, and constipation are thought to be causes for frequent medical visits during childhood. The aim of this study was to estimate the incidences, repeat presentation, clinical symptoms, and sociodemographic risk factors in children who medically presented for GERD, abdominal pain of unknown origin, and constipation from birth to 5 years. Methods: This was a population-based, retrospective birth cohort study of all children born to mothers residing in Rochester, Minnesota who remained in the area until at least age 5 (n = 5718). The medical records of all individuals were searched for relevant diagnostic billing codes for GERD, abdominal pain of unknown origin, and constipation, without another underlying diagnosis, and manually reviewed. Parental sociodemographic factors collected from birth certificate records on patients and matched controls were compared. Results: The incidence for childhood (age, <5 y) presentation of GERD, abdominal pain of unknown origin, and constipation was .9/1000 person-years, 4.5/1000 person-years, and 6.8/1000 person-years, respectively; there were no significant differences between boys and girls. Three or more medical visits by age 5 occurred in 11%, 19%, and 24% of children who were seen for abdominal pain of unknown origin, constipation, and GERD, respectively. Single parentage, maternal age (<18 y), and maternal education (<high school) were not associated with abdominal pain or constipation presentation. Conclusions: The incidences of presentation for GERD, abdominal pain of unknown origin, and constipation are among the highest for pediatric disorders, and a cause for repeated medical consultations.
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