Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Psychological and sex features of delayed gut transit in functional gastrointestinal disorders
  1. E J Bennettb,
  2. P Evansa,
  3. A M Scotta,
  4. C-A Badcocka,
  5. B Shuterc,
  6. R Höschlc,
  7. C C Tennantb,
  8. J E Kellowa
  1. aDepartments of Gastroenterology and Medicine, Royal North Shore Hospital, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, bDepartment of Psychological Medicine, cDepartment of Nuclear Medicine
  1. Dr J E Kellow, Department of Medicine, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards NSW 2065, Australia.


BACKGROUND The relation of demographic and psychological factors to the presence and extent of gut transit impairment in the functional gastrointestinal disorders has received little attention.

AIMS To compare the psychosocial and demographic features of patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders and delayed transit in one region of the gastrointestinal tract with those displaying more widespread delayed transit (that is, delay in two or three regions), and those with normal transit in all three regions.

PATIENTS Of 110 outpatient participants who satisfied standardised criteria for functional gastrointestinal disorders, 46 had delayed transit in one region, 32 had delay in two or three regions, and 17 exhibited normal transit in all regions.

METHODS Transit in the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine was assessed concurrently using a wholly scintigraphic technique; psychological status was assessed using established psychometric measures.

RESULTS Patients with delayed transit displayed demographic and psychological features that contrasted with patients with normal transit in all regions. In particular, widespread delayed transit featured female sex, a highly depressed mood state, increased age, frequent control of anger, and more severe gastric stasis, while the features distinguishing normal transit were male sex and high levels of hypochondriasis.

CONCLUSION These data suggest the existence of a distinct psychophysiological subgroup, defined by the presence of delayed transit, in patients with functional gastrointestinal disorders.

  • delayed gut transit
  • psychophysiology
  • sex
  • mood

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Abbreviations used in this paper:
    delayed transit in one region only
    delayed transit in two or more regions
    functional constipation
    functional dyspepsia
    functional gastrointestinal disorder
    irritable bowel syndrome
    normal transit in all three regions
    region of interest
    half emptying time