Epidemiology of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Children and Adolescents in Asia

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Objectives:Several cross-sectional surveys have been conducted to study the prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in children. The aim of the present study was to conduct a systematic review and a meta-analysis of published literature to estimate the prevalence of IBS among Asian children.Method:A computer-assisted search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, and regional databases of Asia was carried out. Selected articles were reviewed in depth and data were extracted. Pooled prevalence, sex differences, and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Heterogeneity of the studies was assessed using the I2 test.Results:A total of 16 cross-sectional studies that reported prevalence of IBS (in children and adolescents) and qualified to be included were taken into the final analysis containing 38,076 patients. Selected studies are from China, Korea, Japan, Iran, Sri Lanka, and Saudi Arabia. Studies showed a marked heterogeneity with I2 of 98.59 (P < 0.0001). Prevalence of IBS ranges from 2.8% to 25.7%, with a pooled prevalence of 12.41% (95% confidence interval 9.87–14.95). Prevalence risk ratio of girl:boy is 1.39. Prevalence of subtypes is diverse and varies between studies.Conclusions:The published data indicate that IBS is a significant problem among Asian children and adolescents. Female sex predisposes children and adolescents to develop IBS.

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