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Dig Dis Sci. 2009 May;54(5):1079-86. doi: 10.1007/s10620-008-0462-0. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Irritable bowel syndrome and gastroesophageal reflux disease in primary care: is there a link?

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Spanish Centre for Pharmacoepidemiological Research (CEIFE), Almirante 28, 2 masculine, 28004 Madrid, Spain.


Population-based studies have shown that gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) coexist more commonly than expected by chance. We aimed to investigate the relationship between GERD and IBS in primary care. The General Practice Research Database was used to identify patients with a first diagnosis of GERD (n=6,421) or IBS (n=2,932). Patients were followed up for 12 months after diagnosis to investigate the incidence of IBS among GERD patients and GERD among IBS patients. The relative risk (RR) of developing IBS was 3.5 (95% CI: 2.3-5.4) in the GERD cohort compared with the comparison cohort. The RR of developing GERD was 2.8 (95% CI: 1.7-4.9) in the IBS cohort compared with the comparison cohort. A first diagnosis of either IBS or GERD significantly increases the risk of a subsequent diagnosis of the other condition.

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