Gastrointestinal disturbances as a result of changes in eating patterns have been described in eating disorders. Many patients who experience irritable bowel syndrome report changes in eating patterns as a way to cope with their symptoms. Little is known about the consequences of these practices. The aim of this study was to explore whether repeated eating restriction (defined as not eating ≥4 hours while hungry) is associated with motility disturbances.
Of 17 patients with irritable bowel syndrome, subjects were divided into those who habitually restrict their eating (n = 8) and those without eating restriction (n = 9) (age range 15–21, mean 19.2; 64.7% girls). Whole-gut transit time was measured by radiopaque markers, gastric sensitivity was measured by water load test (drinking max of 800 mL of water in 5 minutes or until full), and gastric dysrhythmias by an electrogastrogram.
Restrictors drank less water (mean 464.4 mL) than nonrestrictors (mean 613 mL; P = 0.02). No difference was found in gastric dysrhythmias (62.5% vs 77.8%; P = 0.5). Whole-gut transit tended to be slower in the restrictors (mean 51.0 hours) than in nonrestrictors (mean 37.5 hours), but this was not significant.
Eating restriction appears to be associated with increased gastric sensation. More data are needed from larger studies to determine whether eating behaviors are associated with other motility disturbances.
*Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
†Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Digestive Health Institute, Children's Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, CO
‡Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Miranda van Tilburg, Center for Functional GI and Motility Disorders, University of North Carolina, Campus Box 7080, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7080 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Received 12 March, 2013
Accepted 22 October, 2013
The present study was supported by a clinical research award from the American College of Gastroenterology, R01 DK031369 and UL1RR025747. The sponsors did not have any role in study design, conduct, or article preparation.
The authors report no conflicts of interest.