Gastrointestinal symptoms in myotonic dystrophy

Scand J Gastroenterol. 1996 Jul;31(7):654-7. doi: 10.3109/00365529609009145.


Background: Gastrointestinal complaints may be the initial symptom in myotonic dystrophy (MD). However, the frequency of gastrointestinal symptoms has never been prospectively evaluated.

Methods: Forty patients with MD were interviewed with regard to their GI symptoms with a standardized questionnaire. A group of healthy subjects matched for age and sex served as controls.

Results: The most prevalent symptoms were abdominal pain (55%), dysphagia (45%), emesis (35%), chronic or episodic diarrhoea (33%), coughing while eating (33%), and anal incontinence (30%). Twenty-five per cent of the patients considered their GI problems to be the most disabling consequence of the disease, and 28% had GI problems that started before the diagnosis of MD.

Conclusions: GI symptoms are common in patients with MD, may be the initial symptoms, and are often considered to be the most disabling consequence of the disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cough
  • Deglutition Disorders / etiology
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Digestive System / physiopathology*
  • Fecal Incontinence / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myotonic Dystrophy / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vomiting / etiology