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J Clin Gastroenterol. 1993 Sep;17(2):128-32.

Bowel patterns and anxiety. Demographic factors.

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Department of Medicine, Southern California Permanente Medical Group, San Diego.


In a survey of bowel patterns and anxiety on 1264 health maintenance organization (HMO) members undergoing health assessment, I found (a) Stool frequency increased with age (p = 0.001), was greater in men than women (p < 0.00001), and was greater in whites than blacks (p = 0.07); (b) Fecal incontinence increased with age in women (p < 0.001) but was not age-related in men (p > 0.10); (c) Laxative use was greater in women than men at all ages (p < 0.01), and there was an age effect on use in women (p < 0.025) but not in men (p > 0.20); (d) Bowel pattern change and abdominal pain were frequently caused by stress, and both effects declined with age in each gender (p < 0.05); (e) More women than men at all ages reported stress effects (p < 0.001), and subjects who reported either stress effect scored higher on both parts of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (p < 0.00001) than other people. Bowel patterns and their relation to anxiety have demographic characteristics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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