A viscerosomatic reflex activated by gut distension and inhibiting abdominal wall muscle tone may be one of the mechanisms underlying functional abdominal distension.
In this study, researchers from Milan, Italy, assessed whether different rates of rectal distension might reveal different changes in abdominal girth.
|There was a non-significant increase in abdominal girth at the end of both distensions.|
|Neurogastroenterology and Motility|
The team continuously recorded abdominal girth in 14 healthy subjects using a previously validated extensometer.
The rectal distensions were made in a randomized order at rates of 100 mL min1 or 10 mL min1 up to 150 mL. Sham distensions were used as controls.
The team found an increase in abdominal girth at the end of both distensions. This was greater after the fast distension, compared with the slow distension. The difference was not found to be statistically significant.
Dr Marino and colleagues concluded, "We were unable to demonstrate the existence of a viscerosomatic reflex activated by gut distension under our experimental conditions".