Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 88–95 | Cite as

Relationship of Bloating to Other GI and Menstrual Symptoms in Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

  • Margaret M. Heitkemper
  • Kevin C. Cain
  • Monica E. Jarrett
  • Robert L. Burr
  • Michael D. Crowell
  • Nancy F. Woods


This report examines the relationships between bloating and other symptoms in young women with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), using both retrospective and daily diary measures of symptoms. Of the 195 IBS women, 147 (75%) reported retrospectively that they often feel bloated and distended. Across-women analyses of both retrospective and daily diary data show that bloating is most strongly associated with constipation, abdominal pain, and intestinal gas. Within-woman analyses of daily symptoms also show a strong association of bloating with abdominal pain and intestinal gas (i.e., abdominal pain and intestinal gas are higher on days when bloating is higher) but only a weak association with constipation. Bloating is strongly associated with uterine cramping and breast tenderness, but only when perimenses days are included in the analysis. In conclusion, bloating is a very common symptom in women with IBS that is most strongly related to abdominal pain and intestinal gas but may be confounded with menses-associated symptoms.

irritable bowel syndrome bloating gastrointestinal female 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret M. Heitkemper
    • 1
  • Kevin C. Cain
    • 2
  • Monica E. Jarrett
    • 1
  • Robert L. Burr
    • 1
  • Michael D. Crowell
    • 3
  • Nancy F. Woods
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Biobehavioral Nursing & Health SystemsUniversity of WashingtonSeattle
  2. 2.Office of Nursing ResearchUniversity of WashingtonSeattle
  3. 3.Center for Enteric Neuromuscular Disorders, Department of GastroenterologyMayo Foundation and Mayo Clinic ScottsdaleScottsdaleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Family & Child NursingUniversity of WashingtonSeattle

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