Introduction: Functional gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome are often associated with abdominal discomfort, bloating, and cramping. There is growing evidence that gastrointestinal symptoms are also related to cognitive function, but this association has not been previously examined in young adults. Methods: We examined cross-sectional relationships between nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms and cognition in 56 healthy young adults (41 female, 15 male) without diagnosis of gastrointestinal disorder. Results: Gastrointestinal symptoms were associated with poorer performance on objective tests of memory (p < 0.01 for all) and greater self-report of cognitive dysfunction (p < 0.01 for all). Conclusion: Results suggest that higher gastrointestinal symptoms are associated with greater subjective and objective cognitive difficulty. Future work is needed to clarify underlying mechanisms and the potential functional impact of these cognitive deficits.

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