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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2003 Jan;38(1):36-42.

Gender differences in gut transit shown with a newly developed radiological procedure.

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Division of Gastroenterology, Institute of Internal Medicine, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, University of Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden.



Gut transit measurements are essential for understanding the pathophysiology of many gastrointestinal disorders. The ideal bowel transit test should be easy to perform, widely accessible, reproducible, non-invasive and inexpensive and the risks should be minimal. These requirements prompted us to develop a procedure for simultaneous measurement of gastric emptying, small-bowel transit and colonic transit at one visit. We assessed the influence of gender, body mass index, age, menopause and smoking on gastrointestinal transit in healthy subjects.


Eighty-three healthy subjects (43 women) were included. Colonic transit was based on 10 radiopaque rings given daily for 6 days with fluoroscopy on day 7. Then, the subjects had a test meal containing 20 radiopaque markers. Using fluoroscopy, gastric emptying and small-bowel transit of the markers were followed until they reached the colon.


Gastric emptying, small-bowel transit and colonic transit were significantly slower in female healthy subjects compared to males (2.9 (1.6-4.9) h, median and percentile 10-90, versus 2.4 (0.7-3.7) h, P=0.005; 4.4 (2.1-11.1) h versus 3.2 (1.5-6.0) h, P=0.001; 1.5 (1.0-3.7) days versus 1.3 (0.8-1.9) days P=0.002), respectively. Small-bowel transit was significantly faster in women with overweight and in postmenopausal women compared to lean and premenopausal women, respectively.


This procedure meets most of the requirements of the ideal bowel transit test and is easily performed at one visit. Small-bowel transit as well as gastric emptying and colonic transit were significantly slower for women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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