Prevalence of epigastric pain, heartburn and acid regurgitation in adolescents and their parents: evidence for intergenerational association.Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2007; 19(4):297-303EJ
BACKGROUND AND AIMS
Little is known of the epidemiology of upper gastrointestinal symptoms in adolescents. We examined the prevalence of, and the risk factors for, epigastric pain, heartburn and acid regurgitation in adolescents from Northern Ireland.
A total of 1133 adolescents aged 12-18 years participated in this study.
Questionnaires were mailed to 2017 randomly selected individuals gathering information on symptoms of epigastric pain, heartburn and acid regurgitation. Prevalences of the symptoms in the individuals and their parents were calculated. Associations between potential risk factors such as age, sex, body mass index category, smoking and frequency of symptoms were examined for both adolescents and their parents. Logistic regression was used to examine the relationship between adolescent and parental symptoms.
Symptoms of epigastric pain, heartburn and acid regurgitation were infrequent in adolescents, but were substantially more common in parents. Adolescents were more likely to experience these symptoms if either parent experienced them, the association being much stronger if both parents were symptomatic, for example, the odds ratio (95% confidence interval) for the individual having acid regurgitation if both parents had this symptom was 6.89 (1.32, 35.7). Symptoms were more likely in adolescents who smoked and whose parents smoked, who were from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and who had higher body mass index. For parents, smoking was positively associated with all symptoms, whereas being overweight was related to frequency of heartburn and acid regurgitation.
Strong relationships were seen between adolescent and parental reporting of dyspeptic symptoms. Although this could be due to intrafamilial clustering of environmental factors, the associations persisted after adjusting for these. Psychosocial factors or genetic predisposition may underlie the relationships. Further research is required to explore these relationships more fully.