This study comprised a review and compilation of literature to gain an in-depth understanding of the impact of rotating shift work on gastrointestinal health. PubMed, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library were searched for studies published between January 1, 1985, and June 30, 2020. Fixed day shifts were defined as work shifts that began between 7:00 and 9:00 in the morning. Shifts beginning at any other time were classified as rotating shifts. A meta-analysis was performed using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Software (CMA) version 3. In the end, 16 studies were included in the meta-analysis. An odds ratio (OR) of 1.56 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.24–1.95), indicating that gastrointestinal problems are more common in rotating shift workers than in fixed day shift workers. Four gastrointestinal problems, namely, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, indigestion, and peptic ulcers, were then analyzed separately. Significant differences between rotating shift workers and fixed day shift workers were found only for indigestion and peptic ulcers. For indigestion, the OR was 1.72 (95% CI: 1.28–2.30). For peptic ulcers, the OR was 1.66 (95% CI: 1.19–2.30). Thus, research indicates that rotating shift work may increase the risk of gastrointestinal problems, particularly indigestion and peptic ulcers.
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