International Research Journal of Public and Environmental Health

Original Research Article

The prevalence and risk factors of GERD in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic

Waleed M. Alhuzaim1, Atheer T. Alotaibi2, Hanan A. Alruwaybiah2, Nada S. Alharthi2,Sattam A. Alzahrani2, Nora M. AlDera2,Mohammed R. AlKhudhair2 and Mai F. Alassaf3

1Department of Medicine, Faculty of Gastroenterology, IMISI University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
2Medical Student, College of Medicine, IMISI University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
3Medical Student, College of Medicine, AlMaarefa University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Waleed M. Alhuzaim

Atheer T. Alotaibi

Hanan A. Alruwaybiah

Nada S. Alharthi

Sattam A. Alzahrani

Nora M. AlDera

Mohammed R. AlKhudhair

Mai F. Alassaf

Article Number: irjpeh.21.030  |   Pages: 284-292  |   Vol. 8 (5), September 2021   |   DOI:

 Received: July 10, 2021  Accepted: August 16, 2021  Published: September 27, 2021


Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) develops when there is a backflow of stomach contents, which causes upsetting symptoms and complications. The purpose of this study encompassed determining the rate and risk factors of GERD disease in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, and to find the predominance and risk aspects of gastroesophageal reflux illness amongst Saudi society. A national cross-sectional study was carried out in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from April to September 2021 using a GERD validated questionnaire GerdQ. The questionnaire was self-administered online across all the provinces. The sample was collected randomly among adults who were 18 years old and above and suffering from GERD symptoms. The prevalence of GERD was 34.2% during the pandemic compared to 24.8% before the pandemic. The symptoms were more pronounced during the pandemic than before the pandemic. 41.2% of the population needed to take painkillers frequently compared to 26.0% before the pandemic. Among the potential risk associated with an increase in GERD was the increase in BMI. Coffee consumption reduced during the pandemic to 73.3% from 76.9% before the pandemic. Smoking was slightly more during the pandemic at 14.5% compared to 14.0% before the pandemic. During the pandemic, there was no substantial association between potential risk factors and predominance in GERD (all p>0.05). In conclusion, GERD and its symptoms were more prevalent during the pandemic than before the pandemic. There was no significant connection between the prospective risk factors and the prevalence of GERD during the pandemic. The majority of people exposed to the potential risk factors reported GERD symptoms compared to those who are not exposed.

Keywords: GERD, Covid 19, KSA, pandemic, Saudi, heartburn, smoking

How to Cite this Article

Alhuzaim WM, Alotaibi AT, Alruwaybiah HA, Alharthi NS, Alzahrani SA, AlDera NM, AlKhudhair MR, Alassaf MF(2021). The prevalence and risk factors of GERD in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. Int. Res. J. Pub. Environ. Health 8(5):284-292.

Author(s) retain the copyright of this article. Author(s) agree that this article remain permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International License.

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