Fluorosis ranks high among the major environmental health problems in India. Non-ulcer dyspeptic complaints are common in humans and it is a known fact that fluoride in drinking water, food and other items can cause these symptoms.
Fifty adult outpatients (mean age: 35.2±12.7y) with chronic abdominal pain of unexplained origin were tested for their serum, urinary, and drinking water fluoride (F) concentrations. These concentrations were compared with those of 50 asymptomatic outpatients (mean age: 37.4±11.5y) and analysed statistically.
Serum F concentrations were higher than normal in 62% of the study group I and in 42% of the control group II with a mean of 0.065±0.03ppm (range: 0.010-0.421) in the former and 0.023±0.028ppm in the latter. Statistical analysis of the data by Student’s t-test (unpaired) revealed a significant correlation (p<0.05) between chronic abdominal pain and elevated serum F. Urinary fluoride concentrations in group I were 0.87±1.67 (0.01-3.7)ppm. Seventy-three percent of the patients examined for urinary fluoride concentrations were having higher values than normal, whereas 27% patients had normal range urinary fluoride concentrations despite raised serum fluoride concentrations.
In the cases of chronic pain abdomen, chronic fluoride ingestion from drinking water and other sources can be the cause and should be evaluated in patients in which other parameters are normal.