There is growing evidence that a history of sexual or physical abuse can affect emotional and physical well-being. Within gastroenterology, attention has focused on the increased frequency of abuse history, particularly for patients with refractory functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Furthermore, regardless of diagnosis, abuse history can impair health status and one's ability to cope with one's medical condition. Especially for patients with painful functional GI disorders resistant to usual treatments, the physician should inquire in a supportive manner about the possibility of a prior abuse history or other psychosocial traumas (e.g., major loss). This can then lead to an appropriate mental health referral (along with continued medical care) and an improved clinical outcome.