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.
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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 [Note: a relative risk of 1.0 would mean no difference. The RR of developing IBS for these GERD patients was 250% greater than normally expected.] 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.
Source: Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Aug 22, 2008. PMID: 18720002, by Ruigómez A, Wallander MA, Johansson S, Rodríguez LA. Spanish Centre for Pharmacoepidemiological Research (CEIFE), Madrid, Spain, [E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org]