Abdominal Pain in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Clinical Challenge

J Clin Med. 2022 Jul 22;11(15):4269. doi: 10.3390/jcm11154269.


Pauline Wils 1Bénédicte Caron 2 3Ferdinando D'Amico 4 5Silvio Danese 4Laurent Peyrin-Biroulet 2 3


Author information

1Department of Gastroenterology, Claude Huriez Hospital, University of Lille, F-59000 Lille, France.

2Department of Gastroenterology, University of Lorraine, CHRU-Nancy, F-54000 Nancy, France.

3Department of Gastroenterology, University of Lorraine, Inserm, NGERE, F-54000 Nancy, France.

4Gastroenterology and Endoscopy, IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, 20132 Milan, Italy.

5Department of Biomedical Sciences, Humanitas University, 20090 Milan, Italy.


Up to 60% of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients experience abdominal pain in their lifetime regardless of disease activity. Pain negatively affects different areas of daily life and particularly impacts the quality of life of IBD patients. This review provides a comprehensive overview of the multifactorial etiology implicated in the chronic abdominal pain of IBD patients including peripheral sensitization by inflammation, coexistent irritable bowel syndrome, visceral hypersensitivity, alteration of the brain-gut axis, and the multiple factors contributing to pain persistence. Despite the optimal management of intestinal inflammation, chronic abdominal pain can persist, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches are necessary. Integrating psychological support in care models in IBD could decrease disease burden and health care costs. Consequently, a multidisciplinary approach similar to that used for other chronic pain conditions should be recommended.



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