Research Category: Stress-Related Diseases and Functional Somatic Syndromes

In recent years, with changes in human society, the nature of illnesses has also been changing. There has been an increase in conditions where physical symptoms persist, but no abnormalities are found through routine medical examinations, making medical approaches less effective.

Such conditions are referred to as Functional Somatic Syndromes (FSS). These are defined as a group of disorders characterized by complaints, distress, and disability that are disproportionate to the degree of structural or functional abnormalities that can be found by normal medical examination.

For example, a person may experience ongoing stomach pain or heartburn, undergo tests at the hospital, but be told there are no abnormalities found with a gastroscopy. However, the symptoms persist, and although they may temporarily improve with medication, they soon recur. No abnormalities are found anywhere, and it’s suggested that it’s a psychological issue.

In such cases, although there are no organic abnormalities like ulcers or gastritis, there are issues with the stomach’s function, leading to symptoms similar to gastritis. This is referred to as “functional dyspepsia.”

In addition to functional dyspepsia, FSS includes conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and various functional abnormalities across different areas are observed as core diseases. These conditions are found to some extent in various fields such as gastroenterology, cardiology, dermatology, and gynecology, with many similarities in their characteristics and responses.

In these conditions, repeated medical examinations and wandering between medical institutions pose significant challenges from both human resources and healthcare economic perspective, highlighting the need for more appropriate understanding and response to the pathophysiology.

Hence, various angles are being explored for the psychosomatic evaluation and management of Functional Somatic Syndromes and stress-related disorders.


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