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Visceral Hypersensitivity

There is also evidence that some people with IBS are more sensitive to gastrointestinal processes than people without IBS. They can feel things in their stomach and gut that are normally not perceived by people without IBS. This heightened awareness and sensitivity to normal intestinal activity is referred to as visceral hypersensitivity.

In several well-known experiments involving methods that stimulate the intestine (for example, rectal distention experiments where a balloon is inflated in the rectum), IBS patients tend to react more strongly than people without IBS. The fact that in general IBS patients are more aware of distention and pain at pressures and volumes lower than healthy people has led to the suggestion that IBS involves a disorder of perception. The exact cause and mechanisms of this visceral hypersensitivity in IBS patients are not known.


If you are interested in other gastrointestinal-focused information and intervention websites developed and hosted at
Swinburne University of Technology,
please go to:

IBDclinic.org.au for individuals with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Gastroparesisclinic.org for individuals with Gastroparesis


This website and its content is not intended or recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.

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