Background: The frequency of functional bowel disorders (FBD) in Mexico using the Rome II criteria is unknown. Methods: The Rome II Modular Questionnaire (RII-MQ) was translated into Spanish in coordination with the Rome Committee and their Latin American program. Volunteers were recruited by advertisement in Mexico City, and administered the RII-MQ. Results: The study population consisted of 324 healthy volunteers, with a mean age of 35.7; 66% were female. The most prevalent disorders were heartburn 35%, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 35%, functional bloating 21%, proctalgia fugax 21%, and functional constipation 19%. Based on gender, IBS-C was 4 times more frequent in females than males (19 vs. 4.6%) and functional bloating 3 times more frequent (10 vs. 3.7%). Differences according to occupation included a higher prevalence of ulcer-like dyspepsia (p = 0.04), IBS-C (p = 0.018) and proctalgia fugax (p = 0.034) among students. Conclusions: This is the first study to use RII-MQ to determine the prevalence of FBD in urban Mexico. The prevalence of IBS was significant and is related to a number of factors, including the stress of living in an overpopulated city. Selection bias is likely operative. A community-based study is warranted. Copyright © 2006 S. Karger AG.