The relationship between the sensation of bloating, often ranked as the most bothersome symptom by patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
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.
Dr Lesley Houghton and colleagues from England assessed the technique of abdominal inductance plethysmography.
The research team compare this technique to diurnal variation in girth in IBS patients and healthy volunteers.
The researchers related these changes to the sensation of bloating.
|48% showed distention beyond the 90% control range|
Abdominal girth was recorded for 24 hours in 20 IBS patients with constipation.
The researchers recorded abdominal girth in 20 IBS patients with diarrhea, and in 10 IBS patients with alternating symptoms.
The team included 50 female patients meeting Rome II criteria and 20 healthy female controls.
All subjects pursued normal daily activities, recording their symptoms of bloating and pain together with bowel habit.
The researchers noted that all patients with IBS, irrespective of bowel habit, reported significantly greater bloating than controls.
The team found that 48% of patients showed distention beyond the 90% control range.
The team noted that this was the most prominent in IBS-constipation.
Bloating correlated strongly only with distention in IBS-constipation.
The researchers observed that neither bloating nor distention in IBS was related to body mass index, age, parity, or psychologic status.
Dr Houghton's team concludes, “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.”