Irritable bowel syndrome in Chinese nursing and medical school students—Related lifestyle and psychological factors


Background: Previous studies have shown that the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is 10% - 15% in the general population. IBS is a functional gastrointestinal disorder characterized by abdominal pain, abdominal discomfort and disordered defecation associated with a stressful lifestyle. However, the cause of IBS has not been clarified yet. Based on a similar, previous study in Japan, this study investigated the prevalence of IBS and the relationship between IBS and stress, lifestyle and dietary habits among nursing and medical school students in China. Methods: Designed to investigate IBS symptoms, life- style, dietary intake, life events, anxiety and depresssion, a blank self-administrated questionnaire was used to survey 2500 nursing or medical students in China. Questionnaires were collected from 2141 stu- dents (85.6%) and responses obtained from 1934 students (90.3%) were analyzed. Results: On the whole, the prevalence of IBS was 32.1% in this study, 26.6% in males and 33.6% in females. In females, the IBS group showed a bedtime later than that in the non-IBS group, and the length of time asleep in the IBS group was shorter than that in the non-IBS group (p < 0.001, p = 0.005). In females, the IBS group showed a frequency for the intake of vegetables and potatoes that was lower than that of the non-IBS group (p = 0.007, p = 0.023). The prevalence of IBS among nursing and medical school students in China (32.1%) was significantly lower than that in Japan (35.5%). Especially, the number of females in the constipation dominant IBS subgroup in China (11.8%) was less than that found in Japan (20.4%). Conclusions: The prevalence of IBS was high among nursing and medical students in China, but lower than that shown in Japan.

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Okami, Y. , Nin, G. , Harada, K. , Wada, S. , Tsuji, T. , Okuyama, Y. , Takakuwa, S. , Kanazawa, M. , Fukudo, S. and Higashi, A. (2013) Irritable bowel syndrome in Chinese nursing and medical school students—Related lifestyle and psychological factors. Open Journal of Gastroenterology, 3, 55-63. doi: 10.4236/ojgas.2013.31009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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