Irritable Bowel Syndrome Demographics: A Middle Eastern Multinational Cross-Sectional Study

pezhman Alavinejad, Parvin Mousavi Ghanavati, Mohamed Alboraie, Mohamed Emara, Siamak Baghaee, Bulent Baran, Naser Ebrahimi Daryani, Farnaz Farsi, Eskandar Hajiani, Seyed Jalal Hashemi, Elena Lak, Yasaman Taheri, Abhijit Dangi



Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most frequent functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the different aspects of IBS among Middle Eastern residents.


During the study period, patients attending gastroenterology clinics of nine tertiary referral centers in four Middle Eastern couturiers (Iran, Egypt, Kuwait, and Turkey) were evaluated by Rome IV diagnostic criteria, and those who fulfilled the diagnostic criteria of IBS were asked to fill in a questionnaire covering different demographics and clinical aspects.


Overall, during a 6-month period, 509 patients with IBS were included. 41.3% of the participants were male (210 patients), and 37.4% of them had academic education. 50% of the participants were Caucasian, and 34% were Arab, and originally, they were citizens of 18 countries. 77.4% of the participants were residents of subtropical areas, while 22.2% were living in temperate regions. The average age of the participants during the first presentation in subtropical and temperate areas were 38.4 ± 12.19 and 38.06 ± 12.18 years, respectively (p = 0.726). The most common subtypes of IBS in subtropical areas were unclassified (IBS-U, 44.4%), constipation dominant (IBS-C, 27.6%), mixed pattern (IBS-M, 21%), and diarrhea dominant (IBS-D, 6.8%) in descending order while in temperate areas the most common subtypes were IBS-U (43.3%), and IBS-D (22.1%), respectively (p < 0.001).  Besides abdominal pain, the most common symptom of patients in each region was bloating (62.2% and 68.1%, respectively, p = 0.246). The rate of depression and anxiety were significantly higher among the residents of temperate areas in comparison with subtropical regions (41.6% vs. 16.5% and 80.5% vs. 58.4%, respectively, p < 0.001).


 Although the average age of IBS presentation is the same in subtropical and temperate areas, it seems that in temperate areas, the rate of IBS-D is more prevalent than in subtropical regions. The rate of anxiety and depression are significantly higher among those who searched social media and the internet to get information about their problems.


Irritable bowel syndrome; Subtropical areas; Temperate regions; Bloating

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