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Dis Colon Rectum. 1995 Apr;38(4):341-4.

Prevalence of benign anorectal disease in a randomly selected population.

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Department of Surgery, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago, USA.



The prevalence of benign anorectal diseases (BAD) in the general population has been difficult to establish, either because the individual diseases themselves were difficult to characterize in surveys or because of bias in the selection of the survey population. Reported herein is a prevalence survey of BAD symptoms and treatment history of a sample of the general population, selected by random digit dialing.


A survey instrument that inquired into symptoms of BAD, BAD treatment history, and health-seeking behaviors was administered by telephone interview with 102 individuals, between the ages of 21 and 65 of both genders and all races, chosen by random digit dialing in the Joliet, Illinois area. For selected variables (gender, education level, obesity, previous BAD treatment, fiber supplementation, time for defecation and reading during defecation all related to BAD symptoms) odds ratios and 95 percent confidence intervals were calculated.


Of the 102 individuals, 9 had been previously treated for hemorrhoids, 4 by surgery, and 5 medically. Twenty individuals currently have BAD symptoms, six of these have multiple symptoms frequently, implying established BAD, and four of these have been previously treated for hemorrhoids. Seven of eight individuals with rectal bleeding in the past year have not sought medical evaluation. Of the associations tested, statistical significance was found only between female gender and BAD symptoms (odds ratio = 4.6; 95 percent confidence interval = 1.3-20.4).


History of hemorrhoidal treatment and current BAD symptomatology are highly prevalent in a randomly selected population, and 80 percent of the subjects with symptoms of BAD have not consulted a physician regarding BAD. Some previously held correlates of hemorrhoidal symptoms, such as obesity and extended time for defecation, showed no apparent association with hemorrhoid treatment history or current BAD symptoms. The best predictors of current BAD symptoms were female gender (odds ratio = 4.6; 95 percent confidence interval = 1.3-20.4) and previous hemorrhoid treatment (odds ratio = 3.9; 95 percent confidence interval = 0.7-20).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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