BACKGROUND In previous studies, patients with benign organic and functional voice disorders were shown to suffer from physical complaints. The present study focuses on a specific nosologic classification of these disorders in the sense of diagnosing a somatoform illness. PATIENTS AND METHODS Eighty patients (50 women, 30 men) aged 44+/-11 years (18-60), suffering from various voice disorders (functional: n=18 women, n=13 men; organic: n=32 women, n=17 men), were examined after informed consent. Physical complaints were assessed using the Giessen Complaint Questionnaire GBB-24. Age and gender matched normal controls were taken from the literature. Data were analyzed using the non parametric two-by-two four-field-test. RESULTS The individual diagnosis of dysphonic women showed pathologic values in all subscales except limb complaints. The individual diagnosis of men showed pathologic values in the limb complaints subscale (P<0.05). When comparing functional and organic disorders, no significant difference (P>0.05) was found in neither of the gender groups. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS Depending on gender and type of voice disorder, dysphonic patients suffer from different physical complaints. Both patients with functional and organic disorders are affected. Therefore, it does not seem justified to classify functional voice disorders as somatoform disorders.