Abdominal symptoms and food intolerance related to gallstones.

C.T.M. Thijs*, P.G. Knipschild

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Department of Epidemiology and Academic Hospital Maastricht, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

We have evaluated the association between gallstones and abdominal symptoms, comparing two different study designs. We asked questions on abdominal pain, dyspeptic symptoms, and food intolerance in (1) surgery patients referred for conditions unrelated to gallstones, screened by ultrasound (screening study, n = 892, 63 with gallstones); and in (2) symptomatic patients referred for gallbladder ultrasound (clinical study, n = 336, 71 with gallstones). Gallstones were associated with mid upper abdominal pain in the screening study, and with mid upper abdominal pain, biliary pain, and colic (each independently) in the clinical study. When these symptoms were absent (and only dyspeptic symptoms or food intolerance was present), gallstones were not more common than expected from the general population prevalence (estimated from the screening study). When upper abdominal pain symptoms are accounted for, other symptoms (dyspeptic; food intolerance; pain related to food intake) have no additional diagnostic value. The results are discussed, contrasting different types of studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Gastroenterology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998

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