Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 53, Issue 9, pp 2373–2379

Prevalence and Associated Features of Gastroesophageal Reflux Symptoms in a Caucasian-Predominant Adolescent School Population

  • T. S. Gunasekaran
  • Mary Dahlberg
  • Priya Ramesh
  • Ganesh Namachivayam
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10620-007-0150-5

Cite this article as:
Gunasekaran, T.S., Dahlberg, M., Ramesh, P. et al. Dig Dis Sci (2008) 53: 2373. doi:10.1007/s10620-007-0150-5

Abstract

Objective To determine the prevalence of esophageal symptoms and associated symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in 14–18 year-old high school students and the percentage of symptomatic adolescents who saw a physician or received medications. Design and setting A cross-sectional questionnaire administered to students at two high schools. Participants 1,286 completed questionnaires were analyzed. The study sample consisted of 57% Caucasians and 57% males, with a mean age of 15.7 (±1.3) years. Intervention No intervention was used. Participants completed questionnaires only. Results 714 students (56%) reported at least one esophageal or respiratory symptom. Esophageal symptoms reported were: heartburn (22%), regurgitation (21%), and dysphagia (15%). Respiratory symptoms reported were: shortness of breath (24%), wheezing (20%), and cough (18%). Students with at least one esophageal symptom were more likely to experience at least one respiratory symptom than were students with no esophageal symptoms (52% vs. 25%; p < 0.001). Cigarette, alcohol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use were risk factors for both respiratory and esophageal symptoms. Of those experiencing one or more of these symptoms, 4% reported that the symptoms affected their daily activities, 23% visited a physician, and 25% took medication in the past year. Conclusions Esophageal symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux are frequent in adolescents. Fewer than 25% of students with gastroesophageal reflux symptoms consulted a physician and/or took medications.

Keywords

Acid refluxAdolescentChildrenGastroesophageal refluxGERGERD

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. S. Gunasekaran
    • 1
    • 3
  • Mary Dahlberg
    • 2
  • Priya Ramesh
    • 3
  • Ganesh Namachivayam
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and NutritionAdvocate Lutheran General Children’s HospitalPark RidgeUSA
  2. 2.Center for Children’s Digestive HealthPark RidgeUSA
  3. 3.Division of Pediatric GastroenterologyRonald McDonald Children’s Hospital, Loyola University Medical CenterMaywoodUSA