Thursday, August 03, 2006

Is the Association of IBS with Fibromyalgia and Other Non-gastrointestinal Functional Disorders Important and Why?

Is the Association of IBS with Fibromyalgia and Other Non-gastrointestinal Functional Disorders Important and Why?
By: Ami D. Sperber, M.D., Department of Gastroenterology, Soroka Medical Center, Faculty of the Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel

A significant percentage of patients who consult with doctors in primary care or even specialist clinics have symptoms that remain unexplained after the diagnostic process is exhausted. This is the case because modern medicine focuses on structural diseases, that is diseases that have a basis in the structure or anatomy of the body systems rather than functional disorders that have a basis in how the systems work.

Examples of structural abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract are ulcer, inflammation, infection, and cancer. Examples of functional abnormalities are disordered motility (where nerves or muscles in any portion of the digestive tract do not function with their normal strength and coordination) and hypersensitivity to pain (where persons sense or perceive pain or discomfort more easily, or at lower levels, than is considered normal).

Most diagnostic tests (laboratory tests, radiology, endoscopy, and isotope scans) are designed to identify structural problems, but not disorders of function . . .
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