Mouth-to-cecum transit time in patients affected by chronic constipation: effect of glucomannan

Am J Gastroenterol. 1989 Aug;84(8):888-91.


Mouth-to-cecum transit time was studied in 13 patients affected by chronic idiopathic constipation and 18 control subjects matched with the constipation group for age, sex, and dietary habits. In a preliminary investigation, all patients showed a prolonged whole gut (oroanal) transit time as measured with radiopaque markers. Mouth-to-cecum transit time was studied through the serial determination of breath H2 after administration of 12 g lactulose diluted in 120 ml water. Breath H2 was measured with a gas analyzer and was determined in parts per million (ppm). Breath H2 after lactulose was also determined in the group with constipation after a 10-day diet that included either glucomannan (1 g tid orally) or placebo administered in a double-blind manner. The results show a statistically significant increase in mouth-to-cecum transit time in the group with constipation, compared with controls, and a return to within the normal range after the 10-day treatment with glucomannan. With placebo, no difference in transit time was noted. We therefore suggest that chronic idiopathic constipation is a disease that involves the whole gut.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Breath Tests
  • Cecum / physiopathology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation / physiopathology*
  • Constipation / therapy
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Transit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mannans / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Mannans