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IJMDC. 2023; 7(1): 102-107

The Prevalence of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, its Associated Factors and Impact on Princess Norah bint Abdulrahman University’s Health and Non-Health Students in 2019-2020

Dina M. Al-Habib, Rasha B. Doumi, Fai S. Alshalhoob, Amjad S. Alharbi, Joud S. Alawad, Sarah Y. Alkharji, Mada M. Alqhatani, Majd B. Alharbi, Afnan S. Younis, Amel A. Fayed.


Background: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic gastrointestinal disease identified by frequent episodes of abdominal pain, bloating, and disturbance of bowel habits which are owed to several factors including environmental, stressors, and certain food and medications. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of IBS among Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University (PNU) students in health and non-health colleges and to determine its associated factors and impact.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 514 female students of PNU’s health and non-health colleges. Participants were selected by simple random sampling. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data including sociodemographic data and the Rome IV scale, in addition to risk factors and impact-related variables.
Results: The prevalence of IBS among PNU students was 31.9%. Health students had a higher prevalence as compared to non-health students (36.6% vs. 27.2%). Emotional stress and traumatic life events were more commonly reported among students with IBS (p < 001). The symptoms of IBS were aggravated by fatty food and dairy in most of the participants 46.3% and 43.9%, respectively. Symptoms affecting confidence, such as bloating, were the most reported impact statement (54.9%).
Conclusion: About one-third of the participants had IBS, with a higher prevalence reported among health college students. The risk factors that had the highest impact on students with IBS were dairy and fatty food, emotional stress, traumatic life events, and medications which had a negative impact on the student’s daily life.

Key words: Epidemiology, prevalence, irritable bowel syndrome, female college students, Saudi Arabia.

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