Visceral hypersensitivity is the term used to describe an experience of pain within the inner organs (viscera) at a level that is more intense than normal.
For research purposes, visceral hypersensitivity is commonly measured using tests of pressure within the rectum. This procedure involves inserting a balloon into the rectum and slowly filling the balloon with air. Individuals are characterized as having visceral hypersensitivity when they report pain at lower levels of pressure than others who are able to withstand more significant air inflation without reporting discomfort.
The predominant research area regarding visceral hypersensitivity is as a means of understanding the factors involved in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For more information on the role that visceral hypersensitivity plays in IBS, see: