Objectives: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and dyspepsia often overlap. Delayed gastric emptying has been reported in IBS patients, although conflicting results exist. Whether overlapping dyspepsia correlates with gastric emptying abnormalities in IBS patients has not been clarified. This study aimed to evaluate gastric emptying of solids and its relationship with dyspeptic symptoms in IBS patients.
Methods: A total of 146 IBS outpatients seen in a referral center were evaluated for dyspeptic symptoms using a validated questionnaire. Gastric emptying of solids was evaluated scintigraphically in all patients and in 50 healthy controls.
Results: Overlapping dyspepsia was diagnosed in 96 (66%) IBS patients. On average, gastric emptying rates were lower in IBS patients (mean +/- SEM, 33% +/- 1%/h) compared with controls (40% +/- 2%/h; p < 0.01). Specifically, gastric emptying was delayed in IBS patients with overlapping dyspepsia (31% +/- 1%/h; p < 0.01), whereas IBS patients without dyspeptic complaints showed gastric emptying rates (37% +/- 2%/h) that were similar to those of healthy controls (40% +/- 2%/h). Relevant postprandial fullness (OR = 4.7, 95% CI = 1.8-12.5) and relevant nausea (OR = 3.3, 95% CI 1.2-9.3) were independently associated with delayed gastric emptying.
Conclusions: IBS patients without overlapping dyspepsia have normal gastric emptying of solids. A significant association exists in IBS patients between delayed gastric emptying and overlapping relevant postprandial fullness and nausea.