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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2005 Apr;40(4):412-21.

Prevalence and impact of upper and lower gastrointestinal symptoms in the Greek urban general population.

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Medical School of Athens University, Hellenic Foundation for Gastroenterology & Nutrition, Athens, Greece.



To study the prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms in the Greek urban general population, their associations with patient characteristics, and their effect on patients' daily activities.


The study included 700 adults from the Athens-Piraeus area selected by a 2-stage scheme based on the official maps of the Hellenic Statistic Service. Structured questionnaires were completed through personal interviews. Dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) were diagnosed according to widely accepted definitions.


Of the 700 individuals, 53% reported > or = 1 gastrointestinal symptom during the past week and 55% during the past 6 months (dyspepsia: 48%, GERD: 38%, IBS: 21%). Only one disorder was diagnosed in 25% (dyspepsia: 18%, GERD: 7%), and > or = 2 disorders in 75% of symptomatic individuals. Dyspepsia or GERD was predominant in 7% and 16% and IBS in 28% and 19% of the patients with relevant symptoms during the past week and the past 6 months, respectively (p = 0.017). Substantial symptoms during the past 6 months were reported by 60% of the symptomatic individuals. Affected daily activities were reported by 22% of symptomatic and 5% of asymptomatic individuals (p < 0.001).


Gastrointestinal symptoms are highly prevalent in the Greek urban general population and are substantial in the majority of symptomatic individuals. Dyspepsia and GERD are reported much more frequently than IBS symptoms, but there is a significant overlap between symptomatic diagnoses, while the predominant diagnosis may change over time. Gastrointestinal symptoms have a significant impact on patients' daily activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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