Overlap between functional GI disorders and other functional syndromes: what are the underlying mechanisms?

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 Oct;24(10):895-913. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2012.01993.x. Epub 2012 Aug 2.


Background: Irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal (GI) and non-GI disorders such as functional dyspepsia, fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint disorder, interstitial cystitis/painful bladder syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome are known as functional pain syndromes. They commonly coexist within the same individual. The pathophysiologic mechanisms of these disorders are not well understood, but it has been hypothesized that they share a common pathogenesis.

Purpose: The objective of this review is to discuss the proposed pathophysiologic mechanisms, which have been similarly studied in these conditions. These mechanisms include enhanced pain perception, altered regional brain activation, infectious etiologies, dysregulations in immune and neuroendocrine function, and genetic susceptibility. Studies suggest that these functional disorders are multifactorial, but factors which increase the vulnerability of developing these conditions are shared.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Somatoform Disorders / physiopathology*