Bloating is common, but its significance as a marker of underlying disease has not been defined.
Dr Ashok Tuteja and colleagues from Utah, USA reported on risk factors for bloating, its relationship to physical activity and quality of life, and its predictive value for functional bowel disorders.
|The positive predictive value of bloating in the diagnosis of functional bowel disorder was 66%|
|American Journal of Gastroenterology|
The research team conducted a cross-sectional population-based study of 1,069 employees of the Veterans Affairs Black Hills Health Care System.
The team used the validated Bowel Disease Questionnaire to identify subjects with abdominal bloating and other bowel disorders.
The team assessed the association of bloating with quality of life using the Short-Form 36 questionnaire.
Physical activity was assessed using the modified Baecke questionnaire.
The researchers found that the response rate was 72%.
Bloating was reported by 21% of all subjects, and 64% with irritable bowel syndrome, and 42% with dyspepsia.
The research team found that bloating was reported by 35% with non-irritable bowel syndrome constipation, and 23% with non-irritable bowel syndrome diarrhea.
Functional bloating was reported by 7% of subjects.
The team found that of those with functional bloating, 28% had irritable bowel syndrome, 25% non-irritable bowel syndrome constipation, 8% non-irritable bowel syndrome diarrhea, and 30% dyspepsia.
The positive and negative predictive values of bloating in the diagnosis of functional bowel disorder were 66% and 87%, respectively.
The team noted that the only risk factors were smoking and high-dose aspirin.
Bloating was not associated with physical activity.
Quality of life on all subscales of Short-Form 36 was lower in subjects with bloating than those without bloating.
Dr Tuteja's team concluded, "Bloating is a common symptom in otherwise healthy adults, and is often associated with but not predictive of functional bowel disorders."
"Smoking and high-dose aspirin are associated with bloating while physical activity is not."