- There have been little review data on the period prevalence of heartburn symptoms in the community. We analysed reflux symptom data from a test-and-treat trial that evaluated community Helicobacter pylori levels and added these to data identified from a literature search. We found 31 papers reporting on 77,671 subjects who provided information on the frequency of heartburn symptoms in the community. Pooled data from these papers suggested that, in Western populations, 25% had symptoms at least once per month, 12% had symptoms at least weekly and 5% had heartburn daily. Reflux symptoms were less common in East Asian populations with only 7% having heartburn at least once per month. Heartburn is a significant problem in Western societies.