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Open Access Research article

Blastocystosis in patients with gastrointestinal symptoms: a case–control study

Ayhan Hilmi Cekin1*, Yesim Cekin2, Yesim Adakan3, Ezel Tasdemir3, Fatma Gulsun Koclar4 and Basak Oguz Yolcular5

Author Affiliations

1 Deparment of Gastroenterology, Antalya Training and Research Hospital, Antalya, Turkey

2 Department of Microbiology, Antalya Training and Research Hospital, Antalya, Turkey

3 Department of Internal Medicine, Antalya Training and Research Hospital, Antalya, Turkey

4 Department of Parositology, Antalya Training and Research Hospital, Antalya, Turkey

5 Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics, Akdeniz University Faculty of Medicine, Antalya, Turkey

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BMC Gastroenterology 2012, 12:122  doi:10.1186/1471-230X-12-122

Published: 10 September 2012



Blastocystosis is a frequent bowel disease. We planned to to evaluate the prevalence of Blastocystis spp. in patients who applied to the same internal medicine-gastroenterology clinic with or without gastrointestinal complaints to reveal the association of this parasite with diagnosed IBS and IBD.


A total of 2334 patients with gastrointestinal symptoms composed the study group, which included 335 patients with diagnosed inflammatory bowel disease and 877 with irritable bowel syndrome. Patients without any gastrointestinal symptoms or disease (n = 192) composed the control group. Parasite presence was investigated by applying native-Lugol and formol ethyl acetate concentration to stool specimens, and trichrome staining method in suspicious cases.


Blastocystis spp. was detected in 134 patients (5.74%) in the study group and 6 (3.12%) in the control group (p = 0.128). In the study group, Blastocystis spp. was detected at frequencies of 8.7% in ulcerative colitis (24/276), 6.78% in Crohn’s disease (4/59), 5.82% in irritable bowel syndrome (51/877), and 4.9% in the remaining patients with gastrointestinal symptoms (55/1122). Blastocystis spp. was detected at a statistically significant ratio in the inflammatory bowel disease (odds ratio [OR] = 2.824; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.149-6.944; p = 0.019) and ulcerative colitis (OR = 2.952; 95% CI: 1.183-7.367; p = 0.016) patients within this group compared to controls. There were no statistically significant differences between the control group and Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome patients in terms Blastocystis spp. frequency (p = 0.251, p = 0.133).


Blastocystosis was more frequent in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, especially those with ulcerative colitis. Although symptomatic irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease patients had higher rates of Blastocystis spp. infection, the differences were not significant when compared to controls.

Ulcerative colitis; Crohn’s disease; Irritable bowel syndrome; Blastocystis spp