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Increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome after bacterial gastroenteritis: cohort study

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 27 February 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:565
  1. Luis A García Rodríguez, director, (,
  2. Ana Ruigómez, epidemiologist.
  1. Centro Español de Investigación Farmaco- epidemiológica, Madrid 28004, Spain
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Rodríguez
  • Accepted 30 October 1998

Evidence exists of an increased risk of irritable bowel syndrome after an episode of bacterial gastroenteritis. 1 2 In one study, 12out of 38patients presented with bowel dysfunction 1year after salmonella gastroenteritis.1 In another study, 386patients with bacterial gastroenteritis were surveyed by questionnaire 6months after infection, and 27(7%) had developed irritable bowel syndrome.2 Both studies, however, lacked a control group.3

Subjects, methods, and results

Our source population came from the General Practice Research Database, which contains clinicalinformation on patients recorded by general practitioners in the United Kingdom.4

We identified patients aged 25to 74with a bacteriologically confirmed first episode of gastroenteritis, from a recent study that examined the association between acid suppressing drugs and the development of gastroenteritis.5 We excluded all patients with a history of irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, or alcoholism. We sampled a comparison cohort from the source population from which patients …

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