Background & aims: Dyspepsia is common in clinical practice and in the community. The relationship of the symptoms to meals and the pathophysiology in community dyspeptic patients is unclear. The purpose of this study was to measure symptoms, demographic features, and gastric motor and sensory functions associated with dyspepsia in the community.
Methods: A Modified Bowel Disease Questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of Olmsted County, MN, residents. Dyspeptic patients and healthy controls identified among community respondents completed further questionnaires, Helicobacter pylori serology, gastric emptying by scintigraphy, gastric accommodation by 99mTc-single-photon emission computed tomography imaging, and postprandial symptoms and satiation by a nutrient drink test.
Results: A total of 34.1% of community respondents reported dyspepsia within the past year, frequent (at least 25% of the time in the past year) in 17.5%, and 18.4% reported meal-related dyspepsia. Dyspepsia was frequent and related to meals in 10.8% of respondents. Compared with nondyspeptic controls, community dyspepsia was associated with higher aggregate symptom scores and bloating after a fully satiating meal. Community dyspepsia also was associated with higher somatization scores (P = .001), reporting of other somatic symptoms (P = .07), and general severity score on the symptom checklist 90 (P = .01), but not with disordered motor or sensory function. Gastric volumes, gastric emptying, and maximum tolerated volumes were not significantly different between community controls and dyspeptic patients.
Conclusions: Meal-related dyspepsia is an important component of dyspepsia in the community. Community dyspeptic patients have higher symptom scores after a fully satiating meal, consistent with gastric hypersensitivity. This is associated with higher somatization scores rather than disorders of gastric emptying or volumes.