Constipation in an elderly community: A study of prevalence and potential risk factors

Nicholas J. Talley, Kevin C. Fleming, Jonathan M. Evans, Elizabeth A. O'Keefe, Amy L. Weaver, Alan R. Zinsmeister, L. Joseph Melton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

192 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The epidemiology of chronic constipation in the elderly remains poorly defined. We aimed to study the prevalence of, and potential risk factors for, constipation in a representative elderly community, using symptom-based diagnostic criteria. Methods: An age-and gender-stratified random sample of 1833 eligible residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, aged 65 yr and over, was mailed a valid self-report questionnaire; 1375 responded (75%). Results: The overall age- and gender-adjusted prevalence (per 100) of any constipation was 40.1 (95% CI 38.9, 44.4); for functional constipation and outlet difficulty or delay, the prevalence rates were 24.4 (95% CI 22.0- 26.9) and 20.5 (95% CI 18.2-22.8), respectively. Self-reported constipation did not reliably identify functional constipation or outlet delay. Outlet delay, but not functional constipation, was more frequent in women; functional constipation, but not outlet delay, was associated with advancing age. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other medications were significant risk factors in subjects with functional constipation and outlet delay combined. Conclusions: In independently living, elderly persons, constipation is a common complaint; among these subjects, there appear to be symptom subgroups that can be identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-25
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume91
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

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    Talley, N. J., Fleming, K. C., Evans, J. M., O'Keefe, E. A., Weaver, A. L., Zinsmeister, A. R., & Melton, L. J. (1996). Constipation in an elderly community: A study of prevalence and potential risk factors. American Journal of Gastroenterology, 91(1), 19-25.