Professor Magnus Simrén and colleagues from Sweden evaluated the association between visceral hypersensitivity and gastrointestinal symptom severity in large cohorts of patients with functional gastrointestinal disorder.
The team adjusted for psychological factors and general tendency to report symptoms.
The team evaluated 5 cohorts of patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders, who had undergone visceral sensitivity testing using balloon distensions and completed questionnaires to assess gastrointestinal symptom severity, non-gastrointestinal somatic symptoms, anxiety and depression.
Subjects were divided into sensitivity tertiles based on pain/discomfort thresholds.
|Gastrointestinal symptom severity increased gradually with increasing visceral sensitivity|
Gastrointestinal symptom severity was compared between sensitivity tertiles in each cohort and corrected for somatisation, and anxiety and depression.
The researchers found, in all 5 cohorts, gastrointestinal symptom severity increased gradually with increasing visceral sensitivity, with significant differences in gastrointestinal symptom severity between the sensitivity tertiles, with small to medium effect sizes.
The differences between sensitivity tertiles remained significant in all cohorts after correction for anxiety and depression, and also after correction for non-gastrointestinal somatic symptom reporting in all of the cohorts.
Professor Simrén's team concludes, "A gradual increase in gastrointestinal symptom severity with increasing gastrointestinal sensitivity was demonstrated in irritable bowel syndrome and functional dyspepsia, which was consistent across several large patient groups from different countries, different methods to assess sensitivity and assessments in different parts of the gastrointestinal tract."
"This association was independent of tendency to report symptoms or anxiety/depression comorbidity."
"These findings confirm that visceral hypersensitivity is a contributor to gastrointestinal symptom generation in functional gastrointestinal disorders."