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News

Bloating and distention in irritable bowel syndrome

The latest issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology investigates the role of gas production and visceral sensation after lactose ingestion.

News image

Bloating and distention are often attributed to dietary factors by patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Dr Ning Dai and colleagues from the United Kingdom examined the effects of gas production and visceral hypersensitivity on digestive symptoms after lactose ingestion in a population with lactase deficiency.

The team reported that 277 IBS patients, and 64 healthy controls underwent a 20-g lactose hydrogen breath test with evaluation of hydrogen gas production and lactose intolerance symptoms.

Abdominal distention was measured during lactose hydrogen breath test.

59% of patients with bloating had distention
American Journal of Gastroenterology

Rectal sensitivity was assessed by barostat studies.

The research team observed that hydrogen production and distention were similar in IBS patients and healthy controls during lactose hydrogen breath test.

However, lactose intolerance was more frequent in IBS, especially bloating and borborygmi.

The team found that only 59% of patients with bloating had distention.

No correlation was observed between girth increment and bloating.

IBS patients had lower rectal sensory thresholds.

The research team showed that hydrogen production increased bloating and borborygmi but not distention.

Visceral hypersensitivity was associated with bloating, and total symptom score.

Dr Dai's team concludes, "Gas production and visceral hypersensitivity both contribute to digestive symptoms, especially bloating and borborygmi, in IBS patients after lactose ingestion."

"Objective abdominal distention is not correlated with subjective bloating."

Am J Gastroenterol 2013; 108: 1516–1525
10 October 2013

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