Background: The role of Helicobacter pylori in functional dyspepsia is unclear. The aim of this population-based study was to determine whether the prevalence of H. pylori infection is higher among people with dyspepsia or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) than among symptomless persons after control for age, sex, and socioeconomic status.
Methods: In a postal questionnaire we asked a representative sample (20-79 years; n = 1260) from a Swedish municipality about abdominal symptoms in the preceding 3 months. A randomly selected subsample, 50 with dyspepsia, 50 with IBS, and 50 symptomless, matched with regard to age, sex, and education, were tested for the presence of IgG antibodies to H. pylori, using the HM-CAP immunoassay.
Results: Fifty-five persons (38%) were H. pylori-seropositive. The seroprevalence among dyspeptics (33%) did not exceed that in healthy people (48%) or in those reporting IBS (33%). The prevalence increased with age and with lower social class, but the latter association disappeared when age was taken into account. Neither sex nor symptom intensity predicted Helicobacter seropositivity.
Conclusion: Our data are incompatible with an important aetiologic role for H. pylori in functional dyspepsia.