Gastric emptying and intragastric distribution of a solid meal in functional dyspepsia: influence of gender and anxiety

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2004 Mar;38(3):230-6. doi: 10.1097/00004836-200403000-00007.


Background: Gastric dysmotility and psychological factors have been implicated in the pathophysiology of functional dyspepsia.

Goals: To investigate the influence of gender and anxiety on gastric emptying and intragastric food distribution in patients with functional dyspepsia.

Methods: A standard gastric emptying test was used to study total and compartmental gastric emptying of a solid meal in 22 patients with functional dyspepsia (16 women). Comparisons of the data for dyspeptic men and women were made with 2 respective subgroups of controls (9 men; 9 women). The presence of anxiety and depression was assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale.

Results: Delayed gastric emptying was observed in 32% of patients with functional dyspepsia. As a group, dyspeptic women had a significantly longer half-emptying time as compared with dyspeptic men ( 19 +/- 41 min vs. 78 +/- 22 min) and to female controls (96 +/- 17 min). There was no difference in half-emptying times between male patients and controls. The initial activity in the proximal stomach was significantly lower for both men and women with functional dyspepsia in comparison with their respective controls. In addition, meal retention in the distal stomach of dyspeptic women was significantly greater than that in female controls. Sixteen (72%) functional dyspepsia patients had anxiety when evaluated by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale. Those patients who scored for anxiety showed significantly greater antral meal retention than patients without anxiety.

Conclusion: Our study confirmed that prolonged gastric emptying in patients with functional dyspepsia is related to the female sex, while the abnormalities of the meal intragastric distribution appear to occur in dyspeptic males and females. Anxiety is frequent in functional dyspepsia and seems to be related to abnormal antral retention of food in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Dyspepsia / physiopathology*
  • Dyspepsia / psychology
  • Female
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Factors