Alarm Symptoms: A Cause for Alarm?
The lack of an obvious cause, and the absence of a physical abnormality in the gut (intestines) are features common to all the functional gastrointestinal disorders. We may take comfort that these disorders are more common than structural diseases, and that they are not life threatening. To be sure, the symptoms are real and often impair quality of life, but there is no identifiable pathology. Nevertheless, the presence of a functional disorder does not exclude the possibility of a coincidental disease, and your doctor will be on the lookout for worrying symptoms and signs. The following discussion describes so-called "alarm symptoms" that are not explained by any functional disorder, and therefore demand further inquiry. Reviewed 2009.