Nutrient ingestion increases rectal sensitivity in humans

Physiol Behav. 1994 May;55(5):953-6. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(94)90085-x.


To determine the effect of nutrient ingestion on rectal perception thresholds (first sensation, consistent urge to defecate, pain), rectosigmoid balloon distentions were performed with a computerized automated pump in eight healthy volunteers (four males, four females, 31.6 +/- 6.02 years). Two measurements of rectal balloon distention were performed on 2 separate days. Day 1 served as a control condition with no meal. On day 2 the subjects received a 600 kcal liquid meal. On the control day, determination of perception thresholds was performed two times with a 10-min break between measurements. On the experimental day, threshold determinations were made before and after the ingestion of the liquid standard meal. The order of the experimental days was counterbalanced. Distention volumes at the urge to defecate and the pain threshold (maximum tolerable volume) were significantly reduced following the meal. The average change from pre- to postprandial measurements of the threshold for urge to defecate was -20.55 +/- 4.22% and for the maximum tolerable volume it was -16.09 +/- 4.4%. These results extend data previously reported from animal studies using similar experimental methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Defecation / physiology*
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology*
  • Rectum / innervation*
  • Reference Values
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Stomach / innervation*