Clinical Crossroads
Clinician's Corner
February 6, 2008

A 32-Year-Old Woman With Chronic Abdominal Pain

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire (Dr Lacy); Division of Gastroenterology, Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland (Dr Cash).

JAMA. 2008;299(5):555-565. doi:10.1001/jama.2007.51-a

Functional dyspepsia is a highly prevalent disorder that accounts for 5% of visits to primary care clinicians. It frequently coexists with other gastrointestinal tract disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Symptoms of functional dyspepsia, including epigastric pain, early satiety, and postprandial nausea, are nonspecific, making its diagnosis difficult. Functional dyspepsia is a heterogeneous disorder involving a number of different pathophysiologic processes, culminating in both gastrointestinal sensory and motor dysfunction. Although functional dyspepsia does not impart any increased risks to long-term health, it significantly affects both individuals and society. The economic burden of evaluating and treating functional dyspepsia is estimated to be at least $1 billion per year, and patients with functional dyspepsia experience a markedly reduced quality of life. Using the case of Ms C, we apply an evidence-based approach to highlight current knowledge in the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of functional dyspepsia.