Colonic content in health and its relation to functional gut symptoms

R. A. Bendezú, E. Barba, E. Burri, D. Cisternas, A. Accarino, S. Quiroga, E. Monclus, I. Navazo, J. R. Malagelada, F. Azpiroz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Background: Gut content may be determinant in the generation of digestive symptoms, particularly in patients with impaired gut function and hypersensitivity. Since the relation of intraluminal gas to symptoms is only partial, we hypothesized that non-gaseous component may play a decisive role. Methods: Abdominal computed tomography scans were evaluated in healthy subjects during fasting and after a meal (n = 15) and in patients with functional gut disorders during basal conditions (when they were feeling well) and during an episode of abdominal distension (n = 15). Colonic content and distribution were measured by an original analysis program. Key Results: In healthy subjects both gaseous (87 ± 24 mL) and non-gaseous colonic content (714 ± 34 mL) were uniformly distributed along the colon. In the early postprandial period gas volume increased (by 46 ± 23 mL), but non-gaseous content did not, although a partial caudad displacement from the descending to the pelvic colon was observed. No differences in colonic content were detected between patients and healthy subjects. Symptoms were associated with discrete increments in gas volume. However, no consistent differences in non-gaseous content were detected in patients between asymptomatic periods and during episodes of abdominal distension. Conclusions & Inferences: In patients with functional gut disorders, abdominal distension is not related to changes in non-gaseous colonic content. Hence, other factors, such as intestinal hypersensitivity and poor tolerance of small increases in luminal gas may be involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-854
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Abdominal distension
  • Colonic content
  • Food ingestion
  • Functional gut disorders
  • Intestinal gas


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