Background: The detailed population-based data on irritable bowel syndrome in South China are lacking.
Aims: To assess the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome in South China and its impact on health-related quality of life.
Subjects and methods: A face-to-face interview was carried out in South China to assess the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome. Random clustered sampling of permanent inhabitants aged 18-80 years was carried out under stratification of urban and suburban areas. The impact of irritable bowel syndrome on health-related quality of life was evaluated using the Chinese version of SF-36.
Results: A total of 4178 subjects (1907 male and 2271 female) were interviewed. The adjusted prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome in South China is 11.50% according to the Manning criteria and 5.67% according to the Rome II criteria. Factors including history of analgesic use such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (odds ratio 3.83), history of food allergies (odds ratio 2.68), psychological distress (odds ratio 2.18), life events (odds ratio 1.89), history of dysentery (odds ratio 1.63) and negative coping style (odds ratio 1.28) were significantly associated with the presence of irritable bowel syndrome (P < 0.05). Irritable bowel syndrome was significantly associated with a decrement in health-related quality of life score.
Conclusion: Irritable bowel syndrome is a common disorder in South China and has a negative impact on health-related quality of life.