The Role of Psychosocial Disorders in Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

Najmeh Aletaha, Akram Pourshams, SeyadMehdi Nouraie, Reza Malekzadeh


Background: Although gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common disorder, its etiologies are still largely unknown. There are limited data on the association between psychological status and GERD in the world, in general, and in Iran, in particular. This study was conducted to determine the role of psychological factors in causing GERD.

Materials and Methods: 1,016 randomly-selected subjects were invited for a face-to-face interview. 1,000 persons participated in this study (age range: 18-40 years). Those who reported heartburn and/or regurgitation, at least once a week, during the last 12 months were defined as GERD patients. Controls were persons who did not complian of those symptoms. The psychosocial status was assessed by a reliable general health questionnaire for Iranian, GHQ-28.

Results: The prevalence of "at least weekly GERD" was 12.3%. Somatic disorders (OR: 3.50; 95% CI: 2.17-5.66), anxiety (OR: 4.02; 95% CI: 2.51-6.43), social disorders (OR: 1.95; 95% CI: 1.21-3.17), and depression (OR: 3.29; 95% CI: 1.95-5.50), increasing age and obesity were associated with developing GERD.

Conclusion: The prevalence of GERD in northern Iran is more than that in most Asian countries and is comparable to Western countries. The result of this study indicates significant association between psychiatric disorders with reflux symptoms. The psychosocial factors may play important roles in the production of GERD symptoms.


GERD; Psychosocial disorders; Somatic disorders; Anxiety; Social disorders; Depression

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