Psychosocial factors are common among patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Whether they affect the course of the disease remains unresolved.
Dr Pajala and colleagues from Finland evaluated factors that influence gastrointestinal symptoms in functional and organic dyspepsia.
The team assessed whether reassuring investigations of primary care patients influence gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms and psychological factors.
The research team also evaluated whether these changes are correlated.
|There was no difference between the groups in mental distress|
|Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics|
There were 400 consecutive patients with dyspepsia referred for thorough examinations.
Patients completed questionnaires screening symptoms at baseline and on 1-year follow-up.
At baseline, there was no difference in gastrointestinal symptoms, prevalence of mental distress or fear of serious illness between functional or organic dyspepsia.
On follow-up, the patients with functional dyspepsia had more gastrointestinal symptoms.
However, the team noted no difference in mental distress or fear of serious illness.
Relevant gastrointestinal symptom reduction related to alleviation of mental distress, and fear of serious illness.
The researchers observed that the alleviation of mental distress reached statistical significance only in patients with organic dyspepsia.
Dr Pajala's team concludes, “Gastrointestinal symptoms in functional dyspepsia patients are long lasting compared with those with organic diseases.”
“Reassuring investigations could lower mental distress and fear of serious illness in these patients.”
“Psychological factor change correlates with the change in gastrointestinal symptom severity and is not specific to functional gastrointestinal disorders.”