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Scand J Gastroenterol. 2015 Feb;50(2):162-9. doi: 10.3109/00365521.2014.983157. Epub 2014 Dec 19.

Overlap of symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome in the general population.

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Research Unit of General Practice, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark , Odense , Denmark.



Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), functional dyspepsia (FD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are common functional gastrointestinal conditions with significant impact on the daily lives of individuals. The objective was to investigate the prevalence and overlap of the three conditions in a Western general population.


A nationwide study of 100,000 individuals 20 years and above, randomly selected in the general population. A web-based questionnaire survey formed the basis of this study. Questions regarding FD and IBS were extracted from the ROME III adult questionnaire. Questions regarding GERD were developed based on the Montreal definition. Prevalence estimates for GERD, FD IBS were calculated in total and for each sex separately and for four age groups. A Venn diagram was constructed, illustrating the overlap between the three conditions.


The overall response rate was 52.2%. The prevalence of GERD, FD and IBS was 11.2%, 7.7% and 10.5%, respectively, and overlap between two or three of these conditions was seen among 6.5% of the respondents. Among individuals meeting the criteria of one or more of the conditions GERD, FD and IBS, 30.7% had overlap between two or all three conditions.


GERD, FD and IBS are common conditions in the general population and the overlap between these conditions is also quite common. When diagnosing patients with GERD, FD and IBS, physicians should keep in mind that these patients could be suffering from more than one of these conditions.


ROME III; functional dyspepsia; gastroesophageal reflux disease; irritable bowel syndrome; overlap; population-based study; the Montreal definition

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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