Irritable bowel syndrome among nurses and nursing students in Brunei Darussalam


Vui Heng CHONG

Department of Medicine, RIPAS Hospital, Brunei Darussalam




Introduction: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is common in the West (up to 25%), particularly among female. IBS is less common in the East. There is currently no data available in our local setting. This paper reports the findings of a questionnaire study assessing the prevalence of IBS among nurses and nursing students in the Brunei Darussalam. Materials and Methods: Nurses and students nurses attached to RIPAS Hospitals were invited to participate in this self filled questionnaire study. Diagnosis of IBS was based on the ROME II criteria defined as at least 12 weeks, which need not be consecutive, in the preceding 12 months of abdominal discomfort or pain that has two out of the following three features; relieved by defeacation and/or, onset associated with change in bowel frequency and/or onset associated with change in stool form (appearance). Results: 290 completed questionnaires out of 339 distributed were returned giving a response rate of 84%. The mean age was 26.3 8.7 years with a gender ratio of 235 (81%) female: 55 (19%) male. The prevalence of IBS was 10.7% (n=31). Female had higher prevalence but this was not significant (11.9% vs. 5.5%, p=0.183). There were no differences in the age, body mass index (kg/m2), smoking status and supplement use of subjects with and without IBS. Of the psychosomatic symptoms enquired (backache, feeling of depressed, fatigue, headache, insomnia and shortness of breath), presence of IBS was significantly associated with backache (p=0.007), depression (p=0.021) and shortness of breath (p=0.003). Conclusions: The prevalence of IBS is comparable to what have been reported. Despite the higher prevalence among female subjects, there was no significant difference. IBS was significantly associated with psychosomatic symptoms of depression.



Keywords: Functional gastrointestinal complaints, spastic colon, bloating, ROME II criteria



Correspondence author: Vui Heng CHONG. Department of Medicine, RIPAS Hospital, Bandar Seri Begawan BA1710, Brunei Darussalam

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Brunei Int Med J. 2013; 9 (2): 102-109