Prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms in a large unselected general population in Japan

Hatsushi Yamagishi, Tomoyuki Koike, Shuichi Ohara, Shigeyuki Kobayashi, Ken Ariizumi, Yasuhiko Abe, Katsunori Iijima, Akira Imatani, Yoshifumi Inomata, Katsuaki Kato, Daisuke Shibuya, Shigemitsu Aida, Tooru Shimosegawa

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To examine the prevalence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms in a large unselected general population in Japan. Methods: In Japan, mature adults are offered regular check-ups for the prevention of gastric cancer. A notice was sent by mail to all inhabitants aged > 40 years. A total of 160 983 Japanese (60 774 male, 100 209 female; mean age 61.9 years) who underwent a stomach check up were enrolled in this study. In addition, from these 160 983 subjects, we randomly selected a total of 82 894 (34 275 male, 48 619 female; mean age 62.4 years) to evaluate the prevalence of abdominal pain. The respective subjects were prospectively asked to complete questionnaires concerning the symptoms of heartburn, dysphagia, and abdominal pain for a 1 mo period. Results: The respective prevalences of the symptoms in males and females were: heartburn, 15.8% vs 20.7%; dysphagia, 5.4% vs 7.8%; and abdominal pain, 6.6% vs 9.6%. Among these symptoms, heartburn was significantly high compared with the other symptoms, and the prevalence of heartburn was significantly more frequent in females than in males in the 60-89-year age group. Dysphagia was also significantly more frequent in female patients. Conclusion: The prevalence of typical GERD symptoms (heartburn) was high, at about 20% of the Japan population, and the frequency was especially high in females in the 60-89 year age group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1358-1364
Number of pages7
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Mar 7


  • Abdominal pain
  • Dysphagia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Heartburn


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