Background/aims: Calcium polycarbophil improves abdominal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). We examined colonic transit times in IBS patients both before and after administration of calcium polycarbophil, and clarified the correlations among colonic transit, bowel movements, stool form and abdominal pain.
Methodology: A total of 26 IBS patients (14 diarrhea-predominant type, 12 constipation-predominant type) with a median age of 51 yr were enrolled. Before administration of calcium polycarbophil, mean colonic transit times were calculated from the number of radiopaque markers in the colon. Bowel movements, the stool form scale score and abdominal pain were also measured. After oral administration of calcium polycarbophil for 8 weeks, the transit times were again measured.
Results: In diarrhea type, the mean colonic transit time increased, bowel movements decreased in frequency, the stool form scale score decreased, and the abdominal pain appeared to be diminished after treatment (p<0.05). In constipation type, mean colonic transit time decreased, bowel movements increased in frequency, the stool form scale score increased, the abdominal pain appeared to be diminished after treatment (p<0.05). Colonic transit times were highly correlated with stool form or bowel movements. Stool form was also highly correlated with bowel movements before and after treatment. Abdominal pain was significantly correlated with colonic transit before treatment.
Conclusions: Calcium polycarbophil is useful in improving colonic transit, bowel movements, stool form and abdominal pain in both types of IBS. Improvement in colonic transit might relieve abdominal pain in IBS patients.