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29-12-2009 | Gastroenterology | Article

Psychosocial-spiritual factors linked to functional dyspepsia symptoms


Free abstract

MedWire News: Patients with symptomatic functional dyspepsia are more likely than their asymptomatic counterparts to exhibit increased somatization, more stressful life events, less belief in religion, and less tea consumption, research indicates.

“The findings of the study suggest the importance of adopting a more comprehensive holistic bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model when dealing with functional dyspepsia patients,” say Tseng-Shing Chen and team from Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan.

The researchers identified factors associated with dyspeptic symptoms by comparing demographic and psychosocial features in individuals exhibiting reddish streaks in the stomach, of whom 93 were symptomatic for functional dyspepsia and 67 asymptomatic.

The two groups did not differ with regard to smoking behavior, alcohol consumption, and coffee intake, but symptomatic patients were significantly less likely to drink tea than their asymptomatic peers, at 37.6% versus 61.2%.

Other differences included that symptomatic patients were more likely than asymptomatic patients to be single (20% vs 6%), had less belief in religion (46% vs 66%), experienced a greater number of stressful life events (median of 3.0 vs 2.0) and more severe stressful life events (1.5 vs 1.0).

Symptomatic patients also had greater scores for somatization, depression, anxiety, and psychotism and general severity index of psychopathology compared with asymptomatic patients.

The researchers report in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology/i> that after multivariate analysis only tea consumption, religion, number of stressful life events, and somatization remained statistically significant factors associated with symptomatic functional dyspepsia, at odds ratios of 0.33, 0.42, 2.74, and 6.80, respectively.

The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in the patients was just 21%, which is lower than the mean prevalence of 54% for the general population, and there was no association between infection with the pathogen and dyspeptic symptoms.

The findings therefore highlight the need for a more comprehensive holistic approach to the management of patients with functional dyspepsia.

The researchers also note that “understanding the characteristics of functional dyspepsia will provide a rationale for the clinician to explain the meaning of the symptoms and to achieve better management.”

This is important, they explain, because patients often ascribe dyspeptic symptoms to an endoscopic diagnosis of gastritis, which they believe can then be easily ameliorated with anti-gastritis treatment.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2009

By Lucy Piper