Merck Manual

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Overview of Gastrointestinal Symptoms

By

Jonathan Gotfried

, MD, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Last full review/revision Mar 2020| Content last modified Mar 2020
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Upper gastrointestinal (GI) complaints include

Some upper GI complaints represent functional illness (ie, no physiologic cause found after extensive evaluation).

Lower GI complaints include

As with upper GI complaints, lower GI complaints result from physiologic illness or represent a functional disorder (ie, no radiologic, biochemical, or pathologic abnormalities are found even after extensive evaluation). The reasons for functional symptoms are not clear. Evidence suggests that patients with functional symptoms may have disturbances of motility, nociception, or both; ie, they perceive as uncomfortable certain sensations (eg, luminal distention, peristalsis) that other people do not find distressing.

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