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Visceral perception thresholds after rectal thermal and pressure stimuli in irritable bowel syndrome patients


Dr Yanqing Li, Professor of Medicine, Director of Department of Gastroenterology, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan 250012, China. Email:


Background and Aim:  Visceral hypersensitivity has been shown to be present in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The current study sought to compare the characteristics of visceral perception thresholds after rectal thermal and pressure stimuli between IBS patients and healthy subjects.

Methods:  A total of 46 patients with IBS were diagnosed using Rome II criteria. Thirteen healthy individuals participated in the study. Rectal visceral perception thresholds were examined in patients with IBS and in normal controls after thermal and pressure stimuli. Subjects were asked to report the sensation type, location, and spread.

Results:  Compared with healthy subjects, IBS patients demonstrated significantly initially lower perception thresholds and defecation thresholds to rectal thermal and pressure stimuli, particularly in patients with diarrhea-predominant IBS. Ice stimuli on the abdominal wall had varied effects on symptoms in patients with IBS and did not affect perception thresholds.

Conclusions:  Visceral perception thresholds were decreased significantly after rectal thermal and pressure stimuli in patients with IBS. Visceral hypersensitivity may be one of the important pathogenic mechanisms in IBS.