Role of Colonic Fermentation in the Perception of Colonic Distention in Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Functional Bloating

Department of Medicine, IRCCS S. Matteo Hospital, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Impact Factor: 7.9). 11/2006; 4(10):1242-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.cgh.2006.07.004
Source: PubMed


Bloating represents a frequent gastrointestinal symptom, but the pathophysiologic mechanism responsible for its onset is still largely unknown. Patients very frequently attribute the sensation of bloating to the presence of excessive bowel gas, but not all patients with gas-related symptoms exhibit increased intestinal production of gas. It is therefore possible that other still unrecognized mechanisms might contribute to its pathophysiology. Our aim was to evaluate whether a subgroup of patients affected by functional abdominal bloating presents hypersensitivity to colonic fermentation.
Sixty patients affected by functional gastrointestinal disorders (11 functional bloating, 36 constipation-predominant, and 13 diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome) and moderate to severe bloating took part in the study. Twenty sex- and age-matched healthy volunteers were enrolled as a control group. All the subjects underwent a preliminary evaluation of breath hydrogen excretion after oral lactulose. Then, on a separate day, an evaluation of sensitivity thresholds at rectal level was performed with a barostat before and after the induction of colonic fermentation with oral lactulose. A control test with electrolyte solution was also performed.
Both breath hydrogen excretion and mouth-to-cecum transit time did not differ between the 4 groups studied. Neither electrolyte solution nor lactulose modified sensitivity thresholds in healthy volunteers. In low hydrogen producers, basal perception and discomfort thresholds were similar to high hydrogen producers, but after lactulose both perception and discomfort thresholds were significantly reduced only in low hydrogen producers.
A subgroup of patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders and moderate to severe bloating might have hypersensitivity to products of colonic fermentation.

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    • "The cause of IBS is not known. A disturbance of the intestinal bacterial flora with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth has been suggested [2]. The literature supports the use of metronidazole [3] as well as rifaximin [4] in the treatment of bloating and flatulence in patients with IBS, although the treatment is not found to be effective in all patients. "
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE. Intestinal infection with Giardia lamblia may lead to therapy-resistant, long-lasting post-giardiasis irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). We report two open pilot studies aiming to treat this condition, using either antibiotics or bacterio-therapy. MATERIAL AND METHODS. Twenty-eight patients with persistent abdominal symptoms, following clearance of G. lamblia infection, were investigated. Eighteen received treatment with rifaximin plus metronidazole (8-10 days) whereas 10 received a suspension of live faecal flora, installed into the duodenum during gastro-duodenoscopy. Customary abdominal symptoms and symptoms following a lactulose breath test were quantified by questionnaires. Hydrogen and methane production after lactulose were analysed in expired air and excretion of fat and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) was examined in faeces. RESULTS. As compared with pre-treatment values, total customary symptom scores were barely significantly reduced (p = 0.07) after antibiotics, but were highly significantly reduced (p = 0.0009) after bacterio-therapy. However, symptom improvement following bacterio-therapy did not persist 1 year later. Hydrogen breath excretion was slightly reduced after antibiotics, but not after bacterio-therapy. Compared with healthy persons, faecal excretion of fat was significantly increased in Giardia-cured patients. SCFAs were increased in the bacterio-therapy group, and were not influenced by therapy. CONCLUSIONS. Both antibiotics and bacterio-therapy were ineffective with respect to cure of post-giardiasis IBS. High faecal excretion of fat and SCFAs suggests that intestinal malabsorption of fat and carbohydrates may play a role in the IBS-like complaints of these patients.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
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    • "Later studies by the same group demonstrated that hydrogen production alone is not responsible for all bloating symptoms. In 2006, Di Stefano et al. [2006] "
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    ABSTRACT: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a highly prevalent functional bowel disorder routinely encountered by healthcare providers. Although not life-threatening, this chronic disorder reduces patients' quality of life and imposes a significant economic burden to the healthcare system. IBS is no longer considered a diagnosis of exclusion that can only be made after performing a battery of expensive diagnostic tests. Rather, IBS should be confidently diagnosed in the clinic at the time of the first visit using the Rome III criteria and a careful history and physical examination. Treatment options for IBS have increased in number in the past decade and clinicians should not be limited to using only fiber supplements and smooth muscle relaxants. Although all patients with IBS have symptoms of abdominal pain and disordered defecation, treatment needs to be individualized and should focus on the predominant symptom. This paper will review therapeutic options for the treatment of IBS using a tailored approach based on the predominant symptom. Abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea are the four main symptoms that can be addressed using a combination of dietary interventions and medications. Treatment options include probiotics, antibiotics, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and agents that modulate chloride channels and serotonin. Each class of agent will be reviewed using the latest data from the literature.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2009 · Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology
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