Author(s): Walter S, Hallbk O, Gotthard R, Bergmark M, Sjdahl R
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The self-reported bowel habits and the prevalence of faecal incontinence and constipation in men and women between the ages of 31 and 76 are assessed. METHODS: A postal questionnaire was sent to a random sample (n = 2000) of the total population of persons between the ages of 31 and 76 living in the County of Ostergötland, Sweden. RESULTS: The response rate was 80.5\%. Overall, 67.8\% reported one bowel movement per day and 4.4\% had more than 21 or less than 3 bowel movements per week. This means that 95.6\% had between 3 bowel movements a day to 3 bowel movements a week. Among women, 4.3\%, and among men. 1.7\%, reported less than 3 bowel movements per week. Women and men used the same terms to describe the definition of constipation. Women had a significantly higher self-reported prevalence of constipation than men (P < 0.0001). About 20\% of all women considered themselves constipated. The use of laxatives increased with age and 22\% and 10\% of elderly women and men, respectively, used laxatives including bulking agents for at least every fourth toilet procedure. About 10\% reported leakage of faeces more often than once a month in the case of loose stools. With solid faeces, the rate of leakage was 1.4\% and 0.4\% for women and men, respectively. Soiling of underclothes more than once a month occurred in 21\% of men and in 14.5\% of women (P = 0.006) and involuntary daily leakage of gas in 5.9\% of men and 4.9\% of women (n.s.). CONCLUSIONS: Constipation and faecal incontinence are common problems in a general Swedish population.
This article was published in Scand J Gastroenterol
and referenced in Journal of Gastrointestinal & Digestive System