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Background: Irritable bowel syndrome is a multi-factorial functional gastrointestinal disorder in which abdominal pain and change in frequency and consistency of stool are symptoms of IBS (but not specific) this disorder appear to be common in the third world.
Aim: to shed light on prevalence of IBS among medical students and to assess the risk factors.
Methodology: A cross sectional study was conducted at a college of medicine in Baghdad, the study was done on convenient sample of students, both male and female.
To achieve this study a questionnaire form was designed according to Rome’s III criteria, and questions regarding life style. Excel was used for data entry and presentation, Chi square test for risk assessment.
Result: The prevalence of IBS among 300 medical students was 20%. Female sex was significantly associated with IBS.
Conclusion:One fifth of medical students suffer from irritable bowel syndrome with females were more likely to develop it.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is defined as "a functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of a specific and unique organic pathology, although microscopic inflammation has been documented in some patients. 1 "
Prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome have been estimated to be 30% globally, 30% of them seek medical help. 4
Irritable bowel syndrome has been linked to stress & anxiety which represent a major problem in medical students, it might reflect its high prevalence in this group of people. This makes the screening for irritable bowel syndrome among medical students and the management of stress are necessary.5,6 .
Aim of study:
To shed the light on prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome among medical students and to assess risk factors
Subjects and methods:
A cross section study is conducted that include a convenient sample of medical college students both males and females during a period starting from march 2017 till October 2018.
Data collection was done by using a preformed questionnaire that is composed of questions based on Rome’s III criteria & other questions assessing the habits of students as practicing sports and cigarette smoking, sufficient sleeping hours.
Then data entry was done by Excel, percentages were calculated, tables and figures drawn and association using Chi square test was calculated.
The sample included 300 college students with age range 18-22 years old.
122 students were males, while females were 178, Figure 1.
The prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome in the total sample was 20% as shown in Figure 2 below.
Several studies have been undertaken in the same era in our neighbouring country (Saudi Arabia) some using Rome III, & others using Rome IV.
On the contrary in Almutairi study in which a sample size of 511 Saudi medical students showed a diluted IBS prevalence -per say- occurring as 13% although depending on Rome’s III criteria .11
The association between irritable bowel syndrome and gender was assessed using Chi square test in Table 1 .
The association between smoking and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) was calculated using Chi square test in table 2.
Smoking occurred in 15 % in the total sample, in
The association between IBS and smoking was calculated by Chi square test in Table 2 .
While in Lebanese irritable bowel syndrome is associated with water pipe smoking.16
Sport practice among total sample is shown in Figure 5 .
Only 18 reported physical exercise out of the total 60 IBS subjects, so to assess the association between them, Chi square test was calculated in Table 3 .
The recommended Sleeping hours/day is 8hours/day, their percentage among the total sample was shown in Figure 6 .
Only 19 out of the total 60 IBS sufferers sleep enough hours, to assess the association between having enough sleeping hours and IBS chi square was calculated ,Table 4 .
240 students expressed symptoms during stress of examination. Figure 7
Prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome was 20% among medical students, which was significantly associated with female sex and stress during examinations while smoking, sport activity &enough sleeping hours showed no association.
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