Psychosomatic Medicine vol:73 issue:8 pages:648-655
Gastric sensitivity testing relies on subjective reporting and may therefore be influenced by psychosocial factors and somatization. Furthermore, psychological processes may affect gastric motor function (accommodation to a meal emptying) through efferent brain-gut pathways. This study sought to determine the association of abuse history, psychiatric comorbidity, and somatization with gastric sensorimotor function.
In 201 patients with functional dyspepsia, gastric sensitivity and accommodation were studied with a barostat. Gastric emptying of solids was studied using a breath test. Sexual and physical abuse history, psychiatric comorbidity (depression and panic disorder), and somatization were assessed using validated questionnaires. Multiple linear regression models were used to identify patient characteristics independently associated with gastric sensitivity and emptying.
Age (p = .02), sexual abuse history (p < .001), physical abuse history (p = .004), and somatization (p < .001) were independently associated with gastric discomfort threshold (R(2) = 0.30); a significant depression-by-sexual abuse interaction effect was also found (p = .003). None of the factors studied were associated with gastric accommodation to a meal. Physical abuse history (p = .003) and somatization (p = .048) were independently associated with gastric emptying (R(2) = 0.19).
These results demonstrate the complex relationship among abuse history, psychiatric comorbidity, somatization, and gastric sensorimotor (dys)function. Although the psychobiological mechanisms underlying these relationships remain to be determined, the autonomic nervous, stress hormone, and immune systems may be involved.