This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence and clinical characteristics of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in police officers. The retrospective study was carried out by applying a questionnaire including Rome II criteria in a study population of 1750 police officers who were selected by systematic sampling method among those admitted to Istanbul Police Hospital between 2000 and 2008. We determined IBS prevalence and their clinical characteristics. The IBS prevalence of police officers was 38%. Among the 1750 patients participating in the study, 722 were admitted with gastrointestinal symptoms (GIS). 54.1% of IBS patients were constipation-dominant, 3% of them were diarrhea-dominant and 42.9% of them had alternating bowel habits. We found the prevalence of IBS to be related with previous infections, abdominal operations, chronic laxative use, absence of reguler diet, lack of fiber foods in nutrition and daily tea or coffee consumption. A negative statistical relationship between IBS prevalence and smoking or alcohol intake was found. No association was found between the prevalence of IBS and psychological events. Distribution of IBS patients among age groups was not different. There were both similar and different results about prevalence and clinical characteristics of IBS in police officers from the other studies. IBS prevalence (38%) in our study was higher than usually estimated. It was around 6.2 to 19.1% in previous studies. The prevalence of IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea was significantly higher too. The factors having a positive correlation with IBS were similiar to the results of other studies. More studies should be carried out to explain the reasons of the differences.
Key words: Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), prevalence, police.
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