Dyspepsia in Homeless Adults

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Abstract

Goals

To determine the prevalence of and risk factors for dyspepsia in a representative sample of homeless persons using shelters in Toronto, Canada.

Background

Homeless people have many risk factors for dyspepsia, but little information is available on gastrointestinal symptoms in this population.

Study

Cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of 100 homeless adults, with serologic testing for Helicobacter pylori infection.

Results

The prevalence of moderate, severe, or very severe symptoms within the past 3 months was 18% for upper stomach pain and 59% for any dyspeptic symptom. Nonwhite ethnicity (odds ratio, 3.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.1–10.9) and a history of gastrointestinal disease (odds ratio, 8.6; 95% confidence interval, 2.5–29.6) were significantly associated with moderate to very severe upper stomach pain. H. pylori infection was identified in 31% of participants but was not significantly associated with dyspepsia.

Conclusions

Dyspepsia is a common problem among homeless adults in Toronto. The presence of upper stomach pain is most strongly associated with a history of gastrointestinal disease.

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