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Functional dyspepsia

Functional dyspepsia is a condition which is due to abnormalities with the sensory or motor (those related to movement of the muscles in the wall of the stomach or upper gut) nerves and the way in which the brain interacts with them. It may be due to the proximity of inflammatory cells (mast cells) to nerve endings in the gut, rendering them more sensitive to normal stimuli, to abnormal epithelial or immune function within the wall of the upper gut, to abnormalities in the way in which messages are processed either at the level of the dorsal horns in the spinal column or in the vagal ganglia of which the nodose ganglion is one.  The nodose ganglion is a collection of nerve cells lying at the base of the skull through which many of the messages from the gut travel. It may also be a consequence of abnormal processing of visceral (gut) sensation once it reaches the brain. Equally the impact of environmental influences, the food we eat, sleep, relaxation and stress on normal gut function should not be ignored. Very often functional dyspepsia arises as a result of a combination of factors and influences rather than a single one.

This condition may manifest as a feeling of upper abdominal discomfort, a sensation of fullness or early satiety, or upper abdominal (epigastric) bloating. Patients also often complain of other symptoms including fatigue, headaches and a sensation of muzzy headedness or “brain fog”.

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