Background: Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome may occur more often than expected by chance, but little community data exists and risk factors are unknown.
Aim: To determine prevalence and risk factors for overlap of GERD and irritable bowel disease.
Methods: Population-based, cross-sectional survey was conducted by mailing a valid symptom questionnaire to eligible residents of Olmsted County, MN, aged 30-95 years. Irritable bowel syndrome were defined by Rome III; GERD was defined by weekly or more frequent heartburn and/or acid regurgitation.
Results: 2298 questionnaires returned (women 52%, 55% response). Irritable bowel syndrome and GERD occurred together more commonly than expected by chance; the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome-GERD overlap, GERD alone and irritable bowel syndrome alone were 3%, 15% and 5% in men, and 4%, 14% and 10% in women, respectively. Predictors of irritable bowel syndrome-GERD overlap vs. irritable bowel syndrome alone, and separately, GERD alone, were insomnia (OR 1.3, 95% CI: 1.06-1.70; OR 1.5, 95% CI: 1.13-1.90, respectively) and frequent abdominal pain (OR 3.9, 2.2-6.7; OR 1.8, 1.02-3.2, respectively). An additional predictor of irritable bowel syndrome-GERD overlap vs. GERD alone was higher somatization (OR 1.7, 1.1-2.4) and for irritable bowel syndrome-GERD overlap vs. irritable bowel syndrome alone was a higher body mass index (OR 1.0, 1.003-1.07).
Conclusions: Irritable bowel syndrome and GERD overlap is common in the population and does not occur by chance.