The Prevalence and Risk Factors of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Saudi Arabia in 2019

Naif H. Alqahtani, Mohammad Eid M. Mahfouz


Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence of IBS and its risk factors among the general population of Saudi Arabia, as there is no previous study has done so.

Methods: A cross‑sectional study was carried out to evaluate the prevalence of IBS, IBS subtypes and IBS risk factors among the general population of Saudi Arabia from June 22 to November 30, 2019. A designed questionnaire that is based on ROME IV criteria and licensed from Rome Foundation was used. A total of 1,680 eligible individuals from different parts of Saudi Arabia took part in this national survey and were included in the statistical analysis. The statistical analysis was carried out using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) program (version 22).

Results: The prevalence of IBS in the study was 18.2%. IBS‑M was the most common subtype among IBS patients (42.3%). Risk factors that are significantly associated with IBS were shown to be smoking habits, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), food allergy, anxiety, psychological stress, family history of IBS, regular use of non‑steroidal anti‑inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), history of infection before occurrence of symptoms and residence in the south of Saudi Arabia (P < 0.05*).

Conclusions: IBS is prevalent in Saudi Arabia. The most common risk factor among IBS patients is a positive family history of IBS (80%). Raising public awareness and further prospective studies are both advocated and needed.


Anti‑bacterial agents; body mass index; contraceptive agents; genetics

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