The Burden of Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Medical and Nurse Italian University Student Population: The VANVITELLI-IBS Survey

Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2023 May 8. doi: 10.2174/1574887118666230508154027.Online ahead of print.


Antonietta Gerarda Gravina 1Raffaele Pellegrino 1Mario Romeo 1Giovanna Palladino 1 1Marina Cipullo 1Giorgia Iadanza 1Simone Olivieri 1Giuseppe Zagaria 1Chiara Mazzarella 1Tommaso Durante 2Alessandro Federico 1


Author information

1Hepatogastroenterology Unit, Department of Precision Medicine, University of Campania 'Luigi Vanvitelli', via L. de Crecchio, 80138, Naples, Italy.

2S. Pio Hospital Mental Health Department Benevento Italy.


Background: The increased prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) among medical and nursing students is a global challenge. Unfortunately, data on the Italian medical and nurse student population are scarce. Therefore, this study was designed to assess the prevalence of IBS in this setting and to evaluate the demographic, university, Mediterranean diet adherence, and anxiety factors associated with its increased presence.

Objective: To assess the prevalence of IBS, anxiety levels, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet in medical and nursing university students.

Methods: An anonymous online questionnaire was sent to participants. Several demographic and educational variables were assayed, and the presence of symptoms associated with the definition of IBS (according to Rome IV criteria). In addition, anxiety levels and adherence to the Mediterranean diet were also assessed.

Results: Of 161 students, 21.11% met the Rome IV criteria for IBS. Some subgroups, the out-ofcourse students or no scholarship recipients, were found to have a higher percentage of IBS (p < 0.05). Being out-of-course was shown to be associated with an increased and unreported risk of presenting IBS (OR: 8.403, p < 0.001). Levels of anxiety and adherence to the Mediterranean diet were significantly worse in the IBS group (p < 0.01). Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of presenting IBS in our setting (OR 0.258, p = 0.002).

Conclusion: Our sample of Italian medical and nursing students recorded a non-negligible percentage of IBS. Therefore, screening and awareness campaigns could be suggested.

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