In healthy people, the prevalence of abdominal bloating ranges from 20-30%, while abdominal bloating is a symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), mainly in women, with a prevalence of 80-90%. The symptom is more of a nuisance than the most severe symptom of IBS. And in some cases, abdominal distention may be the only symptom in IBS.
In patients with IBS, the abdomen is usually not bloated in the morning and the abdomen feels flat. However, during the day, bloating gradually develops, and patients gradually feel their abdomen tightening, distended and distended. At night, tight clothing (e.g. jeans) is replaced by light, loose clothing. Some patients with IBS report that their abdomen sometimes inflates in front of their eyes.
After going to bed and during the night, the bloating stops.
Eating provokes abdominal distention, which is why IBS patients eat little or nothing during the day because the symptoms they develop interfere with their daily activities. They prefer to eat in the evening in a home environment. For women with IBS, abdominal distension is increased in the days before menstruation.
Interestingly, in IBS, increased gas production is not necessarily the cause of bloating and abdominal distension. In individuals with IBS, increased sensitivity of the visceral organs (visceral hypersensitivity), dysmotility of the digestive system and inadequate adaptation of the abdominal wall to increased abdominal pressure all contribute to the development of symptoms. Of course, eating bloating foods can aggravate pre-existing symptoms.
Bloating has a negative impact on the quality of life of people with IBS. The abdominal distension and pain that accompanies abdominal distension is the most disturbing symptom. In IBS, bloating is the most difficult symptom to control and also interferes with daily living.
In the majority of cases, abdominal bloating is only a nuisance, but in some cases patients may also experience a decrease in physical activity and energy levels, which may be exacerbated by reduced or missed meals during the day.