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Semin Gastrointest Dis. 1990 Oct;1(1):23-36.

Functional disorders of the stomach.

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Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, PA.
Penn St U, Hershey, Med Ctr


Gastroenterologists frequently encounter patients who report vague epigastric discomforts or sensations of fullness, bloating, and distention in the upper abdomen. The discomfort is neither burning in character nor severe in intensity; there is no nocturnal pain. The epigastric location of discomfort and lack of radiation may help to exclude biliary tract and pancreatic diseases. Nausea may be present, but there is little or no vomiting. After these patients ingest liquids or solid foods, the symptoms of easy filling or early satiety and increasing discomfort and nausea are almost always present. The patient may only report "indigestion," but a specific chief complaint, such as pain, discomfort, nausea, or bloating may be elicited with further inquiries. Solid foods usually provoke more symptoms than do liquids. Symptoms of early satiety, nausea, bloating, and abdominal discomfort may culminate in the vomiting of undigested food. These vague upper gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms have been termed "dyspepsia." When peptic diseases of the stomach are excluded, the symptom complex has been called "nonulcer" dyspepsia, a vague syndrome with symptoms attributed to stomach dysfunction. Nonulcer dyspepsia has been reviewed recently. Such symptoms, commonly attributed to a "functional" disorder, are very common in clinical practice, with an incidence of 30% of patients. In this review, we will discuss an approach to the evaluation and treatment of patients with symptoms of nausea, early satiety, bloating, and vague epigastric discomfort--dyspeptic symptoms associated with functional stomach disorders. We will review the anatomy and motility of the stomach and suggest potential neuromuscular malfunctions of the stomach that may result in epigastric symptoms. The potential role of stress and other brain-gut interactions, which may underlie these symptoms, will also be reviewed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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