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Stomach Pain
Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders
‘Indigestion, bloating, fullness, nagging abdominal pain'

Functional gastrointestinal or digestive disorders are common disorders that are characterised by persistent and recurring gut symptoms. These occur as a result of abnormal functioning of the digestive tract. They are not caused by structural(tumours, polyps, or masses) or biochemical abnormalities. For this reason, the results of routine medical tests such as x-rays, CT scans, blood tests, and endoscopic exams attempting to diagnose a digestive disorder may come out normal or negative.


The most common functional digestive disorders are as follows:

  • Functional dyspepsia or indigestion – pain or discomfort located in the upper abdomen

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a group of bowel disorders characterised by abdominal discomfort or pain associated with defecation or a change in bowel habit

  • Functional abdominal bloating/distension –  a group of functional bowel disorders dominated by a feeling of abdominal fullness or bloating

  • Functional nausea and vomiting disorders


Oriental medicine or TCM has been treating functional digestive symptoms in East Asia including Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam for thousands of years. A statistics report in South Korea states that 17% of the total visits to oriental medical practice was for the management of digestive disorders. In general, therapies such as acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, and herbal medicines are utilised to manage the symptoms.

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