The Korea Herald


Functional dyspepsia

By Korea Herald

Published : March 29, 2012 - 19:32

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Most people have experienced gastrointestinal symptoms such as digestive disturbances, abdominal pain, vomiting and heart burn.

When these symptoms come up, it’s best to take clinical laboratory tests. This is because Korean people are particularly vulnerable to stomach cancer and gastric ulcers.

If you visit our outpatient clinic with these complaints, we will provide clinical laboratory tests as hepatic function tests, blood tests, urinalysis, stool examination, upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and upper abdominal sonography. 

If your symptoms have no specific cause or there are no other problems revealed by these tests, this indicates that your symptoms originate from impaired stomach function.

These symptoms are collectively termed as functional dyspepsia. Little is known about the etiology of functional dyspepsia, but the psychological factors play a role in its pathogenesis.

In particular, stress is one of the major causes of functional dyspepsia. Patients may also present with gastrointestinal symptoms by eating foods that irritate the stomach or irregular exercise. Besides, abnormal motor function of the stomach itself may also lead to the occurrence of these symptoms.

A long-lasting disease that occurs repeatedly, functional dyspepsia is that which many patients suffer from. Because it causes no complications or other serious diseases, however, it is not of great concern.

If you have functional dyspepsia, it is vital to manage your stress levels. Avoid stress at ordinary times. If you become stressed, relieve it by listening to music, taking a walk or reading. Moreover, it is recommended to limit alcohol intake, avoid heavy eating of irritating foods that are spicy, salty or fatty, and smoking.

It is also good to improve your prokinetic functions by making exercise part of your everyday life. This can also be one of the methods for preventing the disease. Functional dyspepsia displays a variety of symptoms despite a lack of the definite etiology. No pharmacological treatments have been established to treat it.

Therefore, patients need to be treated in a way that is tailored to them. Patients with functional dyspepsia are commonly prescribed with such drugs as gastric antisecretory drugs, antacids and prokinetic agents. It is better, however, to treat functional dyspepsia by managing stress and forming good living habits rather than taking drugs.

By Kim Jae-joon, M.D. Ph.D

The author is a doctor of Division of Gastroenterology at Samsung Medical Center and professor of Sungkyunkwan University school of Medicine. ― Ed.