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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Oct 15;28(8):1013-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2008.03813.x. Epub 2008 Jul 24.

Fluctuation of gastrointestinal symptoms in the community: a 10-year longitudinal follow-up study.

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Centre for Digestive Diseases, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds, UK.



There are few studies examining the stability of gastrointestinal symptoms during prolonged periods of follow-up.


To examine this issue in individuals previously recruited into a community screening programme for Helicobacter pylori providing symptom data at study entry.


All traceable participants were sent dyspepsia and IBS questionnaires by post at 10 years. Symptom subgroups were assigned at baseline and 10-year follow-up. Individuals symptomatic at both time points who changed subgroup were compared with those symptomatic and remaining in the same subgroup.


Three-thousand eight hundred and nineteen individuals provided data. At baseline, 2417 (63%) were asymptomatic or did not meet diagnostic criteria for a subgroup. Of these, 1648 (68%) remained asymptomatic at 10 years, whilst 769 (32%) reported symptoms. Of the 1402 individuals symptomatic at baseline, 404 (29%) remained in the same subgroup at 10 years, 603 (43%) changed subgroup and symptoms resolved or did not meet criteria for a subgroup in 395 (28%). Symptom stability was more likely in males [odds ratio (OR): 1.50; 99% confidence interval (CI): 0.97-2.31] and older subjects (OR per year: 1.09; 99% CI: 1.01-1.17).


Of those subjects symptomatic at baseline, almost three-quarters remained symptomatic at 10 years, but over 40% changed symptom subgroup.

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