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Investigation of visceral sensation in humans

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Hypersensitivity in functional gastrointestinal disorders

Patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders present with abdominal symptoms which have no apparent organic cause. It has been well established that these patients have a sensory dysfunction that affects exclusively the viscera. However, the extent of the dysfunction in the different clinical syndromes and the origin of visceral hyperalgesia remain obscure. Some data indicate that the sensory dysfunction in these patients is associated with altered reflex activity, and both mechanisms may interact to produce the symptoms, which in each clinical syndrome would depend on the particular pathways that affected. This working hypothesis would explain both the clinical pleomorphism and the frequent overlap of functional gastrointestinal disorders.

The role of the brain and sensory pathways in gastrointestinal sensory disorders

It is well known that there is a higher prevalence of current anxiety, depression, and global psychological symptoms among patients with IBS compared with patients in other medical clinics. It is likely therefore that visceral pain and limbic pathways overlap. Abnormalities that upregulate afferent signal intensity at any …

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