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Although functional dyspepsia (FD) is common, its underlying cause remains unclear. In a review article in the April 2004 issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology, Suzanne Timmons, MRCPI, and colleagues discussed the complex interrelationship between abnormal motor activity and sensation in patients with FD. They also discussed the potential role of autonomic dysfunction in modulating gastrointestinal (GI) sensation and motor function.
Many patients with FD display delayed gastric emptying; some of these patients have also been found to have abnormal electrogastrography activity. Patients with FD have been shown to have an increased sensitivity to mechanical gastric distension, which is associated with postprandial pain, belching, and weight loss. The authors conclude that all cases of FD cannot be explained by any single abnormality in GI function and that FD is most likely a multifactorial disorder.