Annals of African Medicine
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 177-180

Prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome: A community survey in an African population

1 Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria
2 Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Jos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Edith N Okeke
Department of Medicine, Jos University Teaching Hospital, PMB 2076, Jos, Plateau State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.57241

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Background : Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been reported to be common in the West. Community surveys are lacking in the African setting. We determined the prevalence of IBS in a rural community setting in Nigeria. Method : Questionnaires were administered to consenting individuals. Subjects satisfying the Rome II criteria for IBS were invited for physical examination at a health center to identify the presence of "alarm factors." Results : One hundred forty (31.6%) of the 443 evaluated individuals fulfilled the Rome II criteria for IBS, with a male-to-female ratio of 1.37:1 (P= .11). The prevalence of IBS was highest (39.3%) in the third decade, followed by 25% in the fourth decade (P= .009). Ninety-six (67%) IBS individuals had the alternating pattern of diarrhea and constipation, whereas 28 (20%) and 19 (13%) had constipation and diarrhea subtypes, respectively. Conclusion : IBS as diagnosed by the Rome II criteria has a high prevalence in the African rural population, as obtained elsewhere.

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