Although gas-related symptoms (GRS) are common and intrusive, there are no questionnaires to quantitate this problem. This study aimed to develop an instrument to rectify this gap in our knowledge.
Concepts were initially identified from the literature and interviews with gastroenterologists. Exploratory one-to-one interviews and focus groups with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients (n = 28) and non-IBS subjects (n = 27) with GRS were conducted in UK, France, and Spain leading to a conceptual framework for the questionnaire. Last, iterative rounds of cognitive debriefing were performed with IBS (n = 16) and non-IBS subjects (n = 14).
From the first three steps, nine GRS (bloating, distension, flatulence, odorous flatulence, difficult gas evacuation, stomach rumbling, belching, bad breath, and abdominal movement) were identified although abdominal movement was subsequently excluded. Twelve quality of life domains affected by these symptoms were identified as: Clothing, emotional, physical appearance, diet, daily living, work, social life, physical activity, relationships, sex life, sleep, and cognitive function. A 24-h recall for symptoms and a 7-day recall for impact assessment were supported by the qualitative findings. Cognitive debriefing confirmed the understanding of the instrument. Across the three languages, the instrument was conceptually and linguistically consistent.
Conclusions & Inferences
The International Gas Questionnaire is a 2-part instrument, developed rigorously and simultaneously in three languages assessing seven symptoms (17 items) and their impact on 12 domains (26 items) in IBS and general population. It is now undergoing psychometric validation and should provide a unique tool for epidemiological surveys and clinical trials for developing new treatments for these symptoms.