Constipation and Functional Bowel Disorders

  • Madhulika G. Varma
  • Brooke H. GurlandEmail author


  • Prevalence in North America estimated between 2 and 27 %.

  • Complaints of constipation are two to three times more common in women than men.

  • Of 2,004 patients evaluated by transit study at three European tertiary referral centers for intractable constipation, 92 % were women.

  • The incidence of constipation increases with age, and it is higher in nonwhites than whites, in people from a lower socioeconomic and educational status, and in the southern USA.

  • The Rome criteria for constipation are as follows:
    • Less than three bowel movements per week

    • Straining more than 25 % of the time

    • Hard stools more than 25 % of the time

    • Incomplete evacuation more than 25 % of the time

  • When utilizing the standardized definitions of the Rome criteria, the prevalence of constipation in North America is estimated at 15 %.

  • The Bristol Stool Scale is a visual representation of stool form and helps to subtype functional bowel disorders (Fig. 32.1).


Irritable Bowel Syndrome Sacral Nerve Stimulation Pelvic Floor Dysfunction Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth Obstruct Defecation Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Colorectal Surgery, Department of SurgeryUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Colorectal SurgeryCleveland Clinic FoundationClevelandUSA
  3. 3.Cleveland Clinic – Case Western ReserveClevelandUSA

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