Bowel Habit Reference Values and Abnormalities in Young Iranian Healthy Adults
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The purpose of this study was to estimate the prevalence of self-reported, ROME II–defined constipation and determine the average defecation frequency and stool types in the Iranian population. A self-reported questionnaire was distributed to 1045 participants, including items intended to identify the presence of ROME II–defined functional constipation and the dominant form of stool based on the Bristol Scale. The weekly mean bowel movement frequency in men and women was 12.5 ± 7.3 and 13.8 ± 8.0, respectively (p < 0.05). A total of 87.4% of participants had a stool frequency of between 3 and 21 times per week. The prevalence of functional constipation was 32.9%, whereas only 9.6% of participants reported themselves to be constipated (level of agreement κ = 0.21, 95% confidence interval: 0.15 to 0.27). Soft or formed stool was reported in 75.7% of individuals. Functional constipation is common in the Iranian population, but its diagnosis could not rely on subjective patient complaints. Despite a higher average of bowel frequency, the previously reported normal range of defecation frequency can be applied for the Iranian population.
KeywordsBowel movement frequency Functional constipation Stool form ROME II criteria
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