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Persistent Constipation Rates May Be Lower Than Reported

Similar symptoms seen for patients with persistent and nonpersistent chronic constipation

FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- The clinical symptoms of persistent and nonpersistent chronic constipation (CC) are similar, with persistent CC estimated to have a prevalence of 3 percent, according to a study published in the May issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

In an effort to characterize the features of persistent and nonpersistent CC, Rok Seon Choung, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and associates conducted a prospective cohort analysis of clinical data for 2,853 randomly selected individuals who completed at least two validated surveys during a 20-year period.

The researchers found that 3 percent of respondents had persistent CC, 21 percent had nonpersistent CC, and 76 percent had no symptoms. There was a significant association with high scores on the somatic symptom checklist and frequent doctor visits (odds ratio, 2.1 and 2.0, respectively) for patients with persistent CC versus those with no constipation symptoms. Patients with persistent CC had increased use of laxatives or fiber compared to those with nonpersistent CC (odds ratio, 3.0).

"We conclude from this population-based study that the proportion with persistent CC in the community is 3 percent," the authors write. "Persistent CC has similar clinical characteristics to nonpersistent CC."

The study was sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceuticals. One of the authors licensed the Talley Bowel Disease Questionnaire.

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