Background: Patients with functional dyspepsia (FD) have more complaints than just the dyspepsia.
Method: One hundred FD patients were assessed with regard to psychologic, medical, and social factors, before randomization, in a study of cognitive therapy. They were asked to list their main problem areas or 'target complaints'.
Results: Dyspepsia was the third most frequent target complaint (26 patients), and anxiety was the most frequent one (65 patients). Patients identifying dyspepsia as a target complaint differed from the other FD patients in several aspects. They had significantly more dyspeptic symptoms (p < 0.05) and scored significantly higher on multiple somatic complaints (p = 0.001), depression (p = 0.025), general psychopathology (p = 0.043), the global assessment scale (p = 0.001), and the General Health Questionnaire (p = 0.040). However, they did not have more somatic predisposing factors like consumption of alcohol and coffee or infection with Helicobacter pylori than the patients with other target complaints.
Conclusions: Anxiety and not dyspepsia was the most frequent target complaint, and patients who identified dyspepsia as a target complaint did not have more somatic predisposing factors.