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Functional Somatic Syndromes, Stress Pathologies, and Epigenetics

Jeffrey Bland, PhD, FACN, FACB

Recently Henningsen, Zipfel, and Herzog described the nature and management of functional somatic syndromes (FSS).1 They pointed out that functional somatic syndromes are characterized by patterns of persistent bodily complaints for which adequate examination does not reveal sufficiently explanatory structural or other specified pathology, 1(p946) but they are common worldwide and are seen by practically all subspecialties of medicine. They pointed out that the more common FSS described by multiple papers in the literature include the following:

  • irritable bowel syndrome,
  • chronic fatigue syndrome,
  • fibromyalgia syndrome,
  • premenstrual syndrome,
  • non-ulcer dyspepsia,
  • chronic pelvic pain,
  • hypoglycemia,
  • low back pain,
  • sick building syndrome,
  • Gulf War syndrome,
  • tension headache,
  • temporomandibular joint disorder,
  • repetitive strain injury,
  • multiple chemical sensitivity,
  •  interstitial cystitis,
  • chronic Lyme disease, and
  • food hypersensitivity.

Their explanation for the etiology of these diverse FSS was related to the interaction of organic disease processes, dysfunctional peripheral stimuli, and dysfunctional early and current relationships that result in the expression of bodily stress and associated changes in mood, including anxiety and depression. The clinical endpoint for this complex etiology is varied clinical presentations of the loss of functioning of the individual. The treatment approach that Henningsen, Zipfel, and Herzog suggest as the optimal program with which to manage FSS is to (1) implement a patient-centered approach to care by evaluating the

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This entry was posted in Allergies, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Anxiety, Articles, Chronic Fatigue, Cognitive Health, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Food Sensitivities, Functional Medicine, Headaches, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Jeff Bland, Lifestyle Medicine, Thought Leaders and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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