Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 1991 Jun;20(2):279-95.

Motility disorders in the irritable bowel syndrome.

Author information

Division of Gastroenterology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.


Specific abnormalities of colonic and small bowel motility are identifiable and associated with symptoms in IBS. Characteristic abnormalities in colonic motility include a prolonged increase in 3-cycles/min colonic motor activity after a meal, an exaggerated increase in 3-cycles/min motor activity in response to stressors and CCK, and increased visceral sensitivity and motor activity in response to balloon distention. Symptoms in patients with IBS correlate in some cases with the abnormal gastrocolonic response and with pain induced by distention at various sites in the colon. Small bowel motility abnormalities identified reproducibly in IBS include an increase in daytime jejunal DCCs, an increase in daytime ileal PPCs, and more frequent cycling of daytime MMCs (in diarrhea-predominant IBS only). DCCs and PPCs are strongly associated with symptoms in IBS, and PPCs associated with altered ileocecal transit may be an important mechanism of symptoms in some patients with IBS. Esophageal and gastroduodenal motility abnormalities are inconsistently identified in IBS, and most symptoms in IBS appear to be secondary to small bowel or colonic dysfunction. Because of the paroxysmal nature of these motor abnormalities in IBS, prolonged motility recordings are required to better understand the pathophysiology of this syndrome. Patients with IBS may have altered visceral sensation and changes in afferent reflex mechanisms that modulate GI motility. These patients do not have a generalized increase in pain perception, but may have a distinct sensitivity to visceral afferent stimulation in both gastrointestinal and other viscera. Whether the altered "setpoint" to visceral afferent stimulation in IBS is intrinsic to the smooth muscle of viscera or secondary to CNS and ANS modulation is not known. Many of the symptoms and abnormalities of small bowel and colonic motility in IBS probably result from these changes in afferent sensation and reflex mechanisms. These findings support the concept that IBS is an abnormality of intestinal motility in conjunction with a "sensitive" gut.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center