Functional dyspepsia affects women more than men in daily life: a case-control study in primary care

Gend Med. 2008 Mar;5(1):62-73. doi: 10.1016/s1550-8579(08)80009-5.


Background: Little is known about possible gender differences among patients with functional dyspepsia (FD). Few studies have measured health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in patients with FD using a population-based control group as a reference.

Objectives: This study aimed to determine the degree of HRQoL impairment among patients with FD, to assess the self-reported health impact resulting from the disease, and to analyze any gender differences.

Methods: A questionnaire that included the HRQoL Short Form 36 (SF-36) Health Survey, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and other measurements was mailed to patients with FD identified from medical records. The control group was randomly selected from the general population in the same geographical area. Responses to the SF-36 were transferred to a standard scale ranging from 0 (the worst possible score) to 100 (the best possible score).

Results: Responders were assigned to 2 gender-specific subgroups, each with 88 patients with FD and 344 randomly matched controls, all aged 18 to 65 years. Compared with the controls, the HRQoL of patients with FD was impaired in all SF-36 dimensions except one -- role limitations caused by emotional problems. Female patients with FD had a significantly lower SF-36 score in the physical functioning dimension than did male patients (82.4 vs 90.5, respectively; P < 0.01). Both groups of patients with FD had impaired HRQoL compared with their respective control group in the dimensions of bodily pain (women: 69.3 vs 80.6, P < 0.001; and men: 75.8 vs 84.8, P < 0.001) and general health (women: 62.0 vs 75.6, P < 0.001; and men: 70.6 vs 78.6, P < 0.001). Additionally, women with FD had significant impairment compared with their respective control group in the dimensions of physical functioning (82.4 vs 89.3; P < 0.01) and physical role limitations (72.1 vs 85.9; P < 0.001). Depression was significantly more common among male patients with FD than among male controls (6.8% vs 2.0%, respectively; P < 0.05). More gastrointestinal comorbidity was reported among patients of both sexes compared with controls.

Conclusions: This population-based case-control study reported HRQoL impairment overall among patients with FD. This impairment was more apparent in female patients than in female controls. Females with FD tended to be more negatively affected in their daily life than their male counterparts. These gender differences should be investigated further in future studies.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dyspepsia / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires