Association between Khat Chewing and Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Cross Sectional Study
Background: Khat (Catha edulis Forsk) is a psycho-stimulant substance grown in East Africa. But its adverse effects and its prevalence are not well studied. The main aim of the present study is thus to assess the association between khat chewing and GI problems among students in Ambo University.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in January 2010 on 1005 Ambo University students. Study subjects were selected using systematic random sampling technique, and data were collected using self-administered questionnaire. Data analysis was made using SPSS version 16.0 for windows package.
Results: The mean age of the respondents was 20.79 ± 1.39 ranging from 18-30 years. Seven hundred twenty (71.6 %) of the study participants were males and 994 (98.9%) were in the age group of 15- 24 years. The prevalence of gastritis was 580 (57.7%); constipation 235 (23.4%); hemorrhoids 54 (5.4%) and that of dental problems (carries, decay, filling and extraction) was 225 (22.4%) of all study participants. Gastrointestinal disorders were found to be higher among khat chewers, where 64(36.2%) of them had dental problems; 127(71.8%) symptoms of gastritis; 86(48.6%) constipation and 26(14.7%) hemorrhoids which demonstrated statistically significant association with p < 0.001.
Conclusions: The prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders was found to be higher among khat chewers, indicating that khat chewing could be a predisposing factor to gastrointestinal disorders. Community-based awareness creation about the adverse effect of khat use is thus recommended.
Keywords: Khat chewing, Gastritis, Constipation, Hemorrhoids