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Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2005 Apr;17(2):207-11.

Unexpectedly low prevalence rates of IBS among adult Israeli Jews.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Soroka University Medical Center, and Faculty of the Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva 84101, Israel.


The irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other functional bowel disorders (FBDs) are common functional gastrointestinal disorders. The prevalence of IBS using Rome II criteria is generally lower than with previous criteria. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of IBS and other FBDs in the adult Israeli Jewish population, which has not been surveyed to date. A telephone survey was conducted on a representative sample of the study population provided by the Israel Ministry of the Interior. IBS and other FBDs were diagnosed by Rome II criteria. The study population was 981 individuals and the overall response rate was 54%. The mean age was 45.0 years and 55% were females. In all, 2.9% had IBS (females: 3.7%, males: 1.8%, P = 0.08). The rate increased to 4.1% when the Rome II diagnostic criteria were amended to include some chronic alternators who are not picked up by the original scoring system. Approximately 26% of the respondents had a functional lower gastrointestinal (GI) disorder (females: 32.1%, males: 17.7%, P < 0.0001). Prevalence rates for IBS among Israeli Jewish adults are lower than rates reported from most countries, despite the high level of stress resulting from Israel's geopolitical circumstances. Possible reasons for this low prevalence are discussed.

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