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Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2007 Dec;26(11-12):1521-8. Epub 2007 Oct 5.

Cumulative incidence of chronic constipation: a population-based study 1988-2003.

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Dyspepsia Center and Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



To estimate the cumulative incidence of chronic constipation and evaluate potential risk factors.


In previous cross-sectional studies in 1988, random samples of Olmsted County, MN residents were mailed valid gastrointestinal symptoms surveys. A similar survey was mailed in 2003 to all the remaining eligible subjects who had been mailed to previously. An incident case of chronic constipation was defined as no reported constipation or irritable bowel syndrome on their initial survey but reported constipation on the second survey.


In all, 5507 (79%) subjects responded to the initial survey and 2298 (55%) subjects responded to the second survey in which chronic constipation could be defined. Over 12 years, the cumulative incidence of chronic constipation was 17.4% (14.5, 20.5). Among those less than age 50 years at baseline, the incidence of chronic constipation differed by gender (9.2% in men vs. 18.3% in women). In those over 70 years, the incidence of chronic constipation was more similar for men and women (20.6% vs. 25.0%). The other risk factor associated with new onset chronic constipation was the presence of abdominal pain at baseline [OR = 2.0 (1.3, 3.0)].


The cumulative incidence of chronic constipation over more than a decade was almost one in six, and more pronounced in women and the elderly.

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