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Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 Jul;108(7):1152-8. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2013.137. Epub 2013 May 14.

Impact of persistent constipation on health-related quality of life and mortality in older community-dwelling women.

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Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.



Very little is known about whether the reported health-related impact of constipation is worse in people who experience constipation over a long period of time vs. those with more transient symptoms. We aimed to determine the impact of persistent vs. transient constipation on health-related quality of life (QOL), depression, and mortality.


We analyzed data from 5,107 women (aged 70-75 years in 1996) who answered "Have you had constipation in the past 12 months?" in all five surveys sent out every 3 years of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health.


Of the 5,107 women, 20.9, 54.1, and 24.7% reported having persistent constipation on at least 4 out of 5 surveys, transient constipation reported on 1-3 surveys, or none reported over the 15-year time frame, respectively. Women who reported persistent constipation had significantly lower scores for all domains of QOL on the SF-36 except role-emotional, and had higher levels of self-reported depression, even after adjusting for number of chronic illnesses and fluid intake. Mortality rates were increased when comparing women with no reported constipation with persistently reported constipation (8.2% vs. 11%, odds ratio = 1.32, 95% confidence interval 1.0, 1.74, P = 0.05) controlling for specific chronic illnesses.


Persistent constipation among older women is associated with poor health outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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