Dyspeptic symptoms in the general population: a factor and cluster analysis of symptom groupings

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2009 Apr;21(4):378-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2982.2009.01262.x. Epub 2009 Feb 12.


Both dyspeptic and gastro-oesophageal reflux-like symptoms are frequent in the general population, but their degree of overlap is unknown. In severe functional dyspepsia (FD), symptoms are organized in factors associated with pathophysiological mechanisms. The aims of this study were: (i) to assess the prevalence of dyspeptic symptoms with and without overlapping reflux symptoms in the general population and their impact on daily life and on healthcare utilization; and (ii) to compare symptom groupings in the general population to FD patients. A total of 2025 subjects, representative of the Belgian general population, were used in this study. The subjects were submitted to a questionnaire with validated questions on their dyspeptic and reflux symptoms and with evaluators of impact on daily life and use of healthcare resources. Significant dyspeptic symptoms were found in 417 (20.6%). Overlapping reflux symptoms were present in 141 (33.8%). In this group, symptoms were more frequent and more severe. Dyspeptic symptoms induced weight loss (12.7%) and absenteeism (12.4%), affected daily life (61.2%) and generated use of healthcare resources, such as medical consultations (61.4%) and medication (70.9%). Factor analysis revealed a three-component structure with factor 1 including fullness, bloating and early satiety, factor 2 including nausea and vomiting and factor 3 including discomfort, pain, belching and reflux. If forced in a four-factor model, the analysis separates belching as independent factor. Dyspeptic symptoms are frequent in the general population, with overlapping reflux symptoms and increased symptom burden in about a third.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dyspepsia / complications
  • Dyspepsia / epidemiology*
  • Dyspepsia / physiopathology
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / complications
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / epidemiology*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires