Bloating symptoms are common in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) seen in primary care and gastrointestinal clinics.
However, the underlying mechanisms of irritable bowel syndrome are poorly understood, and there are few data available about the epidemiology of this syndrome or the impact of its symptoms.
Dr Yehuda Ringel and colleagues from North Carolina, USA investigated the prevalence, characteristics, and impact of bloating symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome.
|89% of patients had constipation|
|Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology|
The team identified irritable bowel syndrome patients by Rome II criteria in a population representative web-based survey in the USA.
Patients were asked about the quality, frequency, and severity of their gastrointestinal symptoms.
The impact of these symptoms was investigated by assessing patients' health-related quality of life, utilization of health care, and use of medications.
The researchers studied 337 irritable bowel syndrome patients in this study.
The research team found that 83% reported bloating symptoms, the second most bothersome symptom after abdominal cramping.
The symptoms were more prevalent in female patients, occurring in 88% vs 71% in male patients.
The researchers found that 89% of patients had constipation, 89% had mixed symptoms, 72% had diarrhea.
The team found that bloating symptoms were the third most important reason to seek medical care, and more than half of the patients reported regular use of anti-gas medications.
The researchers found that bloating symptoms were associated with decreased energy levels, food intake, and physical functioning.
Dr Ringel and team concluded, “Bloating symptoms are common in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, and their prevalence and relative severity differ on the basis of sex and irritable bowel syndrome subtype.”
“Bloating symptoms are associated with a decrease in the quality of life and increases in health care utilization and use of medications.”