Inductive plethysmography (IP) sensors and oscillator modules were assessed for their potential use in the ambulatory monitoring of abdominal girth in subjects with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in order to objectively quantify their bloating symptoms. A dedicated microprocessor data logger was designed to record over 24 h the frequency output of IP oscillators connected to a belt around the subject's lower abdomen. Posture was also recorded via tilt switches (standing, sitting and lying). The system was separately calibrated by placing the belts around a variable rectangular phantom and measuring the frequency of oscillation. A theoretical geometric model was devised to convert measured frequency into circumference and account for changes caused by variations in shape. Using the calibration factors, it was found that the circumference of a circular phantom could be measured accurately (mean difference 1.27 cm and SD 0.25 cm). The system has been tested over 24 h with 20 volunteers. Movement introduced variations in measured girth larger than those found during periods of non-movement during sleep. We conclude that IP promises to be a useful and quantitative tool suitable for ambulatory monitoring of abdominal girth, a hitherto relatively unexplored symptom of IBS.