Gender Role in Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Comparison of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Module (ROME III) Between Male and Female Patients

J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2012 Jan;18(1):70-7. doi: 10.5056/jnm.2012.18.1.70. Epub 2012 Jan 16.


Background/aims: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a widespread chronic health condition which is significantly more prevalent in women. We conducted a gender difference analysis by comparing findings of men and women to determine whether any significant differences exist or not.

Methods: This single-center study was conducted in Tehran, Iran during 2009-2010. IBS was diagnosed on the basis of Rome III criteria. A simple "10 point" objective questionnaire was used.

Results: A total number of 144 IBS patients including 44 (30.6%) males and 100 (69.4%) females with the mean age of 37.50 ± 11.50 years, were assessed. The only differently observed symptom was nausea which was significantly more prevalent in females (49% vs 18.2%, P < 0.001). The commonest subtype of IBS in male patients was diarrhea predominant IBS (38.6%); while, constipation predominant IBS was the most frequent type among females (38%). Moreover, the frequency of loose, mushy or watery stools within the last 3 months was significantly higher among males (2.11 ± 1.67 vs 1.37 ± 1.50, P = 0.009).

Conclusions: We report that gender is important in IBS. Although qualitative comparison of different subtypes of IBS between male and female failed to meet the statistically significant level, the answers to the corresponding questions of ROME III IBS module suggest the higher prevalence of bowel movements and looser stool in males. Moreover, nausea was reported more often by females.

Keywords: Gender identity; Irritable bowel syndrome; Questionnaire; ROME III.