Increased prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome in patients with gastroesophageal reflux

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2002 Mar;34(3):221-4. doi: 10.1097/00004836-200203000-00004.


Goals: To determine the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in subjects with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) compared with non-GERD controls.

Study: Two hundred subjects were identified from a list of Cedars-Sinai Medical Foundation patients and gastroenterology motility practice subjects with and without a potential diagnosis of GERD. All subjects were then evaluated independently by two blinded physicians who were asked to identify subjects with GERD based on taking a history (gold standard). A follow-up questionnaire was later mailed to patients. This questionnaire included Rome I criteria for IBS. The prevalence of IBS was compared between GERD and non-GERD subjects. Finally, to further strengthen the method, a retrospective review of all subjects' charts was conducted to identify patients who had had 24-hour pH tests, and the prevalence of IBS was determined in this subgroup.

Results: Of the 200 subjects, 90 (45%) patients returned the questionnaire. After excluding subjects with IBD and incomplete questionnaires, there were 84 subjects (35 with GERD) included in the analysis. Of the 35 GERD subjects, 25 (71%) were Rome I criteria positive for IBS, whereas only 17 of the 49 (35%) non-GERD subjects had IBS (odds ratio = 54.7, CI = 1.7-13.5, p < 0.01). In 11 of the GERD subjects a 24-hour pH study was available and confirmed GERD. Of these 11 subjects, 7 (64%) met Rome I criteria for IBS.

Conclusion: There is a higher prevalence of IBS in subjects with GERD compared with subjects without GERD.

MeSH terms

  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / complications*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / epidemiology*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / physiopathology
  • Esophagus / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gastric Acid / physiology
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index