Irritable bowel syndrome and bloating

Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2007;21(4):689-707. doi: 10.1016/j.bpg.2007.03.007.


Gaseous symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) including eructation, flatulence, and bloating occur as a consequence of excess gas production, altered gas transit, abnormal perception of normal amounts of gas within the gastrointestinal tract, or dysfunctional somatic muscle activity in the abdominal wall. Because of the prominence of gaseous complaints in IBS, recent investigations have focussed on new insights into pathogenesis and novel therapies of bloating. The evaluation of the IBS patient with unexplained gas and bloating relies on careful exclusion of organic disease with further characterisation of the underlying condition with directed functional testing. Treatment of gaseous symptomatology in IBS should be targeted to pathophysiologic defects whenever possible. Available therapies include lifestyle alterations, dietary modifications, enzyme preparations, adsorbents and agents which reduce surface tension, treatments that alter gut flora, and drugs that modulate gut transit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Flatulence / etiology*
  • Flatulence / physiopathology*
  • Flatulence / therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology
  • Humans
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / complications*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / therapy