About Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

There are a number of infant feeding problems that both parents and healthcare professionals are likely to encounter. These can be divided into three categories1-3:

  • Functional Gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs)
  • Cows’ milk allergy (CMA)
  • Lactose intolerance

The term FGID refers to a group of recurring symptoms and feeding problems. In infants and toddlers there are seven recognised FGIDs4:

  • Infant regurgitation
  • Infant colic
  • Functional constipation
  • Functional diarrhoea
  • Dyschezia
  • Infant rumination syndrome
  • Cyclic vomiting syndrome

Symptoms of these conditions are believed to be the result of a functional issue in the digestive system. By definition FGIDs are “a variable combination of symptoms in otherwise healthy individuals, which cannot be explained by obvious structural or biochemical abnormalities”4.

While FGIDs generally resolve as the infant grows and develops, they can be very disruptive for families. Swift identification of the signs of FGIDs can help families get the support they need. However this can be very difficult as many of the symptoms of FGIDs vary from infant to infant and some FGIDs can have similar symptoms.

FGIDs can be diagnosed using the Rome IV Criteria, which were developed by the Rome Foundation, an independent not-for-profit organisation that provides support for activities designed to assist in the diagnosis and management of FGIDs5.



  1. Lacono G et al, Dig Liver Dis, 2005; 37(6):432-438
  2. Fiocchi A et al, World Allergy Organ J, 2010; 3(4):57-161
  3. Heyman MB, Pediatrics, 2006; 118(3):1279-1286
  4. Hyman PE et al, Gastroenterol, 2006; 130;1519-1526
  5. Drossman DA. Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: History, Pathophysiology, Clinical Features, and Rome IV. Gastroenterology 2016; 150:1262-1279