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J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs. 2014 Jan-Feb;41(1):70-6; quiz E1-2. doi: 10.1097/01.WON.0000438019.21229.b7.

Prevalence of constipation in the general adult population: an integrative review.

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Fernanda Mateus Queiroz Schmidt, MSN, BSN, TiSOBEST, ET Nurse, Passos, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Vera Lúcia Conceição de Gouveia Santos, PhD, MSN, BSN, TiSOBEST, Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of São Paulo (EEUSP), São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Constipation affects multiple aspects of a person's health, including health-related quality of life. It is one of the most frequently reported functional gastrointestinal disorders. The purpose of this integrative review of the literature was to identify research findings pertaining to the prevalence of constipation and factors are associated with constipation in the general population. Electronic databases were searched for articles published between 2005 and 2011. All retrieved studies were evaluated with respect to quality according to the guidelines for critical appraisal of health research literature on prevalence and incidence. Eleven studies were retrieved; they reveal a prevalence of constipation that varied from 2.6% to 26.9%. The most frequently cited associated factors were female gender and advanced age, which were cited in 11 and 7 of the studies, respectively. Prevalence rates reported by the selected studies were heterogeneous. This may be partially attributed to variability in methods used to measure prevalence, including differences in criteria for constipation.

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