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 18 January 2018

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News

Overlap of GI symptom complexes in a US community

Symptom complex overlap is common in the community and this overlap of symptoms challenges the current paradigm that functional GI disorders represent multiple discreet entities, reports February's Neurogastroenterology and Motility.

News image

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Although the Rome criteria define a number of individual functional gastrointestinal disorders, people may have symptoms of multiple disorders at the same time.

In addition, therapies may be effective in subsets of people with specific disorders, yet at the same time help people with multiple disorders.

Dr Locke and colleagues from Maine in America undertook a study in order to estimate the prevalence of combinations of gastrointestional (GI) symptom complexes.

The researchers mailed a self report questionnaire which records gastrointestinal symptoms to an age- and gender-stratified random sample of Olmsted County, MN residents aged 30-64 years.

The research team used standard definitions to identify people with gastro-esophageal reflux, dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation and diarrhea.

The investigators then estimated the prevalence of people meeting multiple symptom complexes.

Each 2 way combination of symptom group was present in between 4 and 9% of the population
Neurogastroenterology and Motility

Specifically, combinations of dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation were compared to dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.

The researchers included a total of 657 of the 943 eligible subjects who had responded.

643 provided data for each of the necessary symptom questions.

The researchers found that each 2 way combination of symptom group was present in between 4 and 9% of the population.

In addition, they found that each 3-way combination was present in 14% of the population.

The research team noted that the overlap between dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome and constipation was similar to dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea, except body mass index was higher in the diarrhea overlap group.

Dr Locke concluded, "Symptom complex overlap is common in the community; for each condition, the majority of sufferers reported an additional symptom complex."

"This overlap of symptoms challenges the current paradigm that functional GI disorders represent multiple discreet entities."

Neurogastroenterology and Motility; 2005: 17 (1): 29
28 January 2005

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