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Non-ulcer dyspepsia and peptic ulcer: the distribution in a population and their relation to risk factors.
  1. B Bernersen,
  2. R Johnsen,
  3. B Straume
  1. Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway.


    BACKGROUND: The aetiology of non-ulcer dyspepsia and a possible connection to peptic ulcer disease is debated. This paper discusses this problem in a population based study. AIMS: The relation between non-ulcer dyspepsia and peptic ulcer disease was explored by the distribution in the general population and their associations to demographic, lifestyle, and psychological factors. METHODS: All inhabitants of a community aged 20-69 years received a questionnaire concerning abdominal complaints, health, lifestyle, diet, and social conditions. Reports on peptic ulcer were verified with medical records. Dyspeptic subjects and matched healthy, non-dyspeptic controls were endoscoped in a blinded procedure. SUBJECTS: Of 2027 persons invited, 1802 (88.9%) returned the questionnaire from which dyspeptic subjects and controls were identified. Of 782 subjects invited to endoscopy, 309 dyspeptic and 310 control subjects (79.2%), participated. RESULTS: Men reported dyspepsia (30.4%) and peptic ulcer (8.7%) more often than women (24.1% and 5.2%, respectively). Non-ulcer dyspepsia was frequent (between 10.6% and 17.2%) in both sexes and age groups up to 60 years, with a lower frequency in both men and women above this age (3.0% and 6.8%). Non-ulcer dyspepsia was associated with having a family history of dyspepsia and of peptic ulcer and the use of tranquillisers. Nearly one third of dyspeptic persons above the age of 40 years had peptic ulcer, but peptic ulcer prevalence was low under this age. Peptic ulcer was associated with a family history of peptic ulcer, smoking, and daily life stress, and also with poor living conditions during childhood, frequent recurrence of herpes labialis, conditions that were associated with Helicobacter pylori infection. CONCLUSIONS: Non-ulcer dyspepsia and peptic ulcer have different patterns of relations to lifestyle, social, and psychological factors. The results perhaps support the hypothesis of peptic ulcer being an infectious disease in contrast with non-ulcer dyspepsia.

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