Background and objective Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one of the most common gastrointestinal diseases worldwide. It causes an unpleasant effect on patients’ lives and may lead to serious complications resulting in a significant burden on healthcare systems. Despite being a common gastrointestinal disease, very few studies have been conducted on the condition in Saudi Arabia; and there has never been a study to estimate the prevalence of GERD in the Al-Qunfudah Governorate. In light of this, we conducted this study with an aim to assess the prevalence of GERD and its associated risk factors among the Al-Qunfudah population. Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted in the Al-Qunfudah Governorate by using an online self-administrated questionnaire that was shared through social media during the first week of January 2021. The questionnaire consisted of a general section on sociodemographic data and a section on the diagnosis of GERD based on the validated gastroesophageal reflux disease questionnaire (GERD-Q). A total of 1,180 eligible participants responded to the questionnaire. Results Nearly one-third (32.9%) of the study participants had GERD based on their reported symptoms and calculated scores (GERD-Q score ≥8). About 14.8% of the participants (175/1,180) reported that they had already been diagnosed with GERD before their participation in our survey. Regarding risk factors of GERD, about 35% reported experiencing psychological stress, 28.3% had a family member diagnosed with GERD, and 18.1% were smokers; 49.4% of the participants had their symptoms aggravated by consuming fatty or fried food and 46.7% by spicy food. One of the factors that helped to relieve GERD symptoms was avoiding symptom-aggravating food, as reported by more than half (50.7%) of the participants. Conclusion The prevalence of GERD in the Al-Qunfudah population is high as the condition has affected one-third of the adult population. Our study confirms that male gender, age of 30 years or above, being overweight or obese, being married, smoking habit, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), having psychological stress, being asthmatic, or having a family history of GERD are factors that significantly increase the likelihood of developing GERD. The reported risk factors include experiencing psychological stress, a family history of GERD, high BMI, and smoking.
Copyright © 2021, Odah et al.