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Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Disorders Stable

Many with symptoms continue to have symptoms at follow-up

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders has been stable over a 12-year period in a Minnesota county, with more than half of those with symptoms at baseline continuing to have symptoms at follow-up, researchers report in the September issue of Gastroenterology.

G. Richard Locke III, M.D., and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., surveyed 1,365 residents of Olmsted County, Minn., over a 12-year period from 1988 to 2003 regarding their gastrointestinal symptoms in the past year.

Between the initial and final surveys, the researchers found a stable prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (8.3 and 11.4 percent, respectively) and functional dyspepsia (1.9 and 3.3 percent, respectively). The onset rate of the disorders was higher than the disappearance rate. For those with gastrointestinal symptoms at the initial survey, about 20 percent had the same symptoms, 40 percent had no symptoms, and 40 percent had different symptoms at follow-up.

"Although the prevalence of the functional gastrointestinal disorders was stable over time, the turnover in symptom status was high," Locke and colleagues conclude. "Many episodes of symptom disappearance were due to subjects changing symptoms rather than total symptom resolution."

The study was partially supported by Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Locke and another study author have received financial support from several pharmaceutical companies.

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