Functional Gut Disorders

Functional Gut Disorders are considered to be syndromes or group of symptoms that arise from the gastrointestinal tract with no known cause. What this means is no identifiable biological cause has been identifies in current diagnostic testing. It is important to note the symptoms are real, however lack any underlying defect to explain the symptoms. This is also seen in headaches, muscle aches, back aches and abdominal pains.

Essentially, functional gut disorders are diagnosed by either the absence of ‘alarm features’. These features include fever, bleeding, lump in the abdomen, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, history of cancer or weight loss (Thompson, IFFGD) These features are examined by a careful clinical history and physical examination by a Gastroenterologist. Once the absence of alarms features is established, the diagnosis of functional disorder can be given.

According to Prof Drossman (1999), research suggests that some symptoms are likely to be found in functional rather than organic ones. He gives the example of pain relief experienced following defecation is more likely to be be IBS rather than a painful abdominal disease.

Although the diagnostic term functional gut disorder may not be considered to very valid or informative, it is the best term to explain the problem to date (Thompson, IFFGD).

List of common functional gut disorders:

More information on these can be found under IBS and other Functional Gut Disorders.