Objective: Upper gastrointestinal disorders are common in the community, yet the determinants of these symptoms are poorly characterized. The association between upper gastrointestinal symptoms and Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), socioeconomic status, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) use, smoking, alcohol, and coffee intake was assessed in a cross-sectional survey.
Methods: Subjects between the ages of 40-49 yr were randomly selected from the lists of 36 primary care centers. Participants attended their local primary care center and were interviewed by a researcher using a validated dyspepsia questionnaire. H. pylori status was determined by a nonfasting 13C-urea breath test.
Results: A total of 32,929 subjects were invited, and 8,407 (25%) attended and were eligible. Of these, 2,329 (28%) were H. pylori positive and 3,177 (38%) had dyspepsia. Also, 44% of H. pylori-infected participants reported dyspepsia compared with 36% of uninfected subjects [odds ratio = 1.39; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.26-1.53]. H. pylori infection remained a significant risk factor for dyspepsia in a multiple logistic regression model (odds ratio = 1.21; 95% CI 1.09-1.34), suggesting that 5% of dyspepsia in the population is attributable to H. pylori. NSAIDs, low educational attainment, renting accommodation, absence of central heating, sharing a bed with siblings, and being married were also significantly associated with dyspepsia in this model. Smoking, but not drinking alcohol or coffee, was marginally associated with dyspepsia, but this finding was not robust. These factors were not associated with any dyspepsia subtype.
Conclusions: H. pylori is significantly associated with dyspepsia and may be responsible for 5% of upper gastrointestinal symptoms in the community.