Effect of acute stress on anorectal physiology in normal healthy volunteers

L. A. Houghton, A. Prior, P. J. Whorwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Visceral hypersensitivity occurs in many patients with irritable bowel syndrome; however, it is more common in those with high anxiety levels, raising the possibility that it is merely a reflection of underlying anxiety. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of acute stress on anorectal motility and sensitivity in normal healthy volunteers. Design and methods: Anorectal responses to balloon distension were assessed in 14 healthy volunteers (aged from 24-52 years; 11 women) on three separate occasions in random order during exposure to either cold pain, mental stress or control conditions. Results: Both subjective and objective measures of stress increased significantly during both stress studies [subjective stress level (mean ± SEM): control 23 ± 2.9, cold pain 56 ± 5.4, mental stress 61 ± 6.5, P < 0.002; pulse rate: control 71 ± 0.5, cold pain 82 ± 0.9, mental stress 84 ± 1.2, P < 0.01]. However, there were no changes in rectal sensitivity [volume to discomfort (ml): control 190 ± 14.5, cold pain 198 ± 16.9, mental stress 180 ± 14.9]; rectal compliance (ml/cmH2O; control 6.4 ± 0.56, cold pain 7.3 ± 0.86, mental stress 6.3 ± 0.6), or distension-induced motility (control 1405 ± 376, cold pain 1389 ± 387, mental stress 1021 ± 289). Conclusion: Acute stress does not effect the anorectal response to balloon distension in normal volunteers. Further studies are required to assess whether patients with irritable bowel syndrome respond in a similar or different way to acute stressful stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-392
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Volume6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Healthy Volunteers
Pain
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Anxiety
Compliance
Hypersensitivity
Heart Rate

Keywords

  • Acute stress
  • Anorectal physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

Effect of acute stress on anorectal physiology in normal healthy volunteers. / Houghton, L. A.; Prior, A.; Whorwell, P. J.

In: European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Vol. 6, No. 5, 1994, p. 389-392.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Houghton, L. A. ; Prior, A. ; Whorwell, P. J. / Effect of acute stress on anorectal physiology in normal healthy volunteers. In: European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 1994 ; Vol. 6, No. 5. pp. 389-392.
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