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Study: Gastric Emptying Impaired in CFS


( Chronic fatigue syndrome is more than just fatigue, according to the authors of a new study released in BMC Gastroenterology. Many CFS patients report symptoms of nausea and impaired digestion. However, there have been few, if any, studies to confirm whether gastrointestinal dysfunction is common in CFS. According to the researchers at Adelaide Hospital in Australia, “GI symptoms in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome are associated with objective changes of upper GI motility.”

The study compared 32 CFS patients with 45 controls. Each participant completed a questionnaire on symptoms relating to digestion, as well as a battery of tests to determine esophageal clearance and gastric emptying. Gastric emptying was measured using radionuclide techniques. Radionuclide tests consist of the ingestion of a slightly radioactive substance. The radioactive substance can then be tracked through the upper gastrointestinal tract, allowing researchers to observe firsthand the ability of the patient to digest food.

There was no difference between CFS patients and control subjects regarding esophageal clearance. However, CFS patients commonly reported feeling “early satiety, fullness and bloating after eating.” Solid gastric emptying was slower in 12 out of 32 CFS patients, and liquid gastric emptying was impaired in 23 out of 32 CFS patients. Those patients who had slowed gastric emptying showed a strong association with reported questionnaire symptoms, such as nausea.