Relationship of Abdominal Bloating to Distention in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Effect of Bowel Habit

Lesley A. Houghton, Richard Lea, Anvrag Agrawal, Brian Reilly, Peter J. Whorwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background & Aims: The relationship between the sensation of bloating, often ranked as the most bothersome symptom by patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and actual distention manifest as an increase in abdominal girth is controversial. Investigation of this problem has been hampered by the lack of a reliable ambulatory technique to measure abdominal girth. The aim of this study was to use the technique of abdominal inductance plethysmography to compare diurnal variation in girth in IBS patients and healthy volunteers, relating these changes to the sensation of bloating. Methods: Abdominal girth was recorded for 24 hours in 20 IBS-constipation (age, 18-73 y), 20 IBS-diarrhea (age, 25-62 y) and 10 IBS-alternating (age, 21-59 y) female patients meeting Rome II criteria and 20 healthy female controls (age, 18-67 y). All subjects pursued normal daily activities, recording their symptoms of bloating and pain together with bowel habit. Results: All patients with IBS, irrespective of bowel habit, reported significantly greater bloating than controls (P < .0001). Forty-eight percent of patients also showed distention beyond the 90% control range, with this being most prominent in IBS-constipation. Bloating correlated strongly only with distention in IBS-constipation (r ≥ 0.48; P ≤ .02). Neither bloating nor distention in IBS was related to body mass index, age, parity, or psychologic status. Conclusions: Abdominal distention is a clearly definable phenomenon in IBS that can reach 12 cm. However, it only occurs in half of patients reporting bloating, and the 2 only correlate in IBS-constipation. Bloating and tentiodisn may differ pathophysiologically and this appears to be reflected in the bowel habit subtype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1010
Number of pages8
JournalGastroenterology
Volume131
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Habits
Constipation
Plethysmography
Parity
Diarrhea
Healthy Volunteers
Body Mass Index
Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

Relationship of Abdominal Bloating to Distention in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Effect of Bowel Habit. / Houghton, Lesley A.; Lea, Richard; Agrawal, Anvrag; Reilly, Brian; Whorwell, Peter J.

In: Gastroenterology, Vol. 131, No. 4, 10.2006, p. 1003-1010.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Houghton, Lesley A. ; Lea, Richard ; Agrawal, Anvrag ; Reilly, Brian ; Whorwell, Peter J. / Relationship of Abdominal Bloating to Distention in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Effect of Bowel Habit. In: Gastroenterology. 2006 ; Vol. 131, No. 4. pp. 1003-1010.
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