In case of structural diseases or motility disorders of the digestive system, activation of sensory pathways and symptoms are indicative of malfunction. However, some patients exhibit abdominal symptoms without detectable abnormalities, i.e., functional disorders, and in them the alarm system is activated without apparent reason. In some of these patients, malfunction of the alarm system itself may be the cause of the symptoms. Indeed, it has been consistently shown that these patients have a visceral hypersensitivity, so that physiological stimuli that are not perceived by healthy subjects induce their symptoms.
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