Objective: Many studies have been published on disorders of the gut–brain interaction (DGBI) in Asia and Western Europe, but no previous study has directly assessed the difference between the two regions. The aim was to compare the prevalence of DGBI in Asia and Western Europe. Methods: We used data collected in a population-based Internet survey, the Rome Foundation Global Epidemiology Study, from countries in Western Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) and Asia (China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore). We assessed DGBI diagnoses (Rome IV Adult Diagnostic Questionnaire), anxiety/depression (Patient Health Questionnaire-4, PHQ-4), non-GI somatic symptoms (PHQ-12), and access to and personal costs of doctor visits. Results: The study included 9487 subjects in Asia and 16,314 in Western Europe. Overall, 38.0% had at least one DGBI; younger age, female sex, and higher scores on PHQ4 and PHQ12 were all associated with DGBI. The prevalence of having at least one DGBI was higher in Western Europe than in Asia (39.1% vs 36.1%, OR 1.14 [95% CI 1.08–1.20]). This difference was also observed for DGBI by anatomical regions, most prominently esophageal DGBI (OR 1.67 [1.48–1.88]). After adjustment, the difference in DGBI prevalence diminished and psychological (PHQ-4) and non-GI somatic symptoms (PHQ-12) had the greatest effect on the odds ratio estimates. Conclusion: The prevalence of DGBI is generally higher in Western Europe compared to Asia. A considerable portion of the observed difference in prevalence rates seems to be explained by more severe psychological and non-GI somatic symptoms in Western Europe.
- cross-sectional studies
- functional constipation
- functional dyspepsia
- functional gastrointestinal disorders
- irritable bowel syndrome