Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Background : Overlapping symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and dyspepsia are a problem for physicians and patients.Aim : This study explored comprehension of dyspepsia symptoms and associated medical terminology among women with symptoms of dyspepsia.Methods : The US women aged ≥18 years with dyspepsia (defined by Rome II criteria) were recruited in two phases, via direct mail, the Internet, clinical investigators and/or gastroenterologists. In phase I, subjects took part in an hour-long telephonic interview comprising open-ended questions relating to symptom frequency/duration, triggers/patterns and severity. During phase II, subjects took part in a 45-min telephonic interview, which explored their understanding of dyspepsia symptoms and their predominant or most bothersome symptom.Results : Subjects with ‘pure’ dyspepsia (without overlapping symptoms of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease or irritable bowel syndrome) were sought, but of 777 subjects screened, most were excluded because of gastrointestinal comorbidities (irritable bowel syndrome, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease). Only 85 (11%) subjects had ‘pure’ dyspepsia of whom 11 withdrew. Of the 74 subjects interviewed, 70% were unfamiliar with the term ‘dyspepsia’. Subjects reported several symptoms, including bloating (65%), gas (50%), nausea (41%) and discomfort (36%). Most subjects could distinguish between symptom bothersomeness and severity, and between pain and discomfort. Terms such as ‘satisfactory relief’, ‘central upper abdominal discomfort’, ‘early satiety’ and ‘postmeal fullness’ were often misunderstood.Conclusions : Subjects with ‘pure’ dyspepsia are rare, because of comorbidities. Dyspepsia-related terminology is often misunderstood by subjects.
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