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Table 1 Characteristics of studies regarding the epidemiology of constipation in Europe in the general population.

From: Epidemiology of constipation in Europe and Oceania: a systematic review

First author, year of publication, setting Type of study Definition of constipation Study population (% of responders) Prevalence per 100 Factors significantly associated with increased odds for constipation Quality score+ Comments
Siproudhis L 2005 France [16] Mailed questionnaire survey Emptying difficulties or unsatisfied defecation during the preceding 12-month period 7196 (72) persons ≥ 15 yr, representative of the general population 22.4 History of vaginal delivery in women 6 F/M 2
Garrigues V 2004 Spain [17] Mailed questionnaire study Self-reported, Rome I, and Rome II criteria 349 (71.4) participants, 18–65 yr, representative of the general population 29.5 (self-reported) 19.2 (Rome I criteria) 14 (Rome II criteria) Female gender 7 F/M 2.2 Agreement between self-reported and Rome II criteria was moderate
Walter S 2002 Sweden [18] Mailed questionnaire study Self-reported, as 'sometimes, often or always' constipated 1610 (80.5) persons, 31–76 yr, randomly selected 19.8 of women 8.3 of men Female gender 4 F/M 2.4
Haug TT 2002 Norway [19] Mailed questionnaire study Self-reported, as 'minor or major complaints' during the last 12 months 62651 (66.5) persons, > 20 yr 20.2 Anxiety, and less strongly depression 4 F/M 4
Frexinos 1998 France [20] Interview- questionnaire survey Self reported 6000 (81) participants > 15 yr, selected by systematic random sampling 35   7  
Gaburri 1989 Italy Umbria [21] Interview-questionnaire survey, performed by a physician. ≤ 2 DPW for > 9 months in the last 3 years and/or straining at stool > 75% of the time 544 (98). 104 medical students, 103 medical and paramedical employees and 326 randomly selected home interviewed persons. 9.2 Female gender presented significantly higher constipation rates. 5  
Bassotti G 2004 Italy [22] Prospective study Rome II criteria 298 (61) persons recruited from the general population and asked to compile a daily diary on their bowel habits and associated signs and symptoms 5 (< 3 DPW) 11.7(straining) 10.7(incomplete evacuation)   6  
  1. Abbreviations DPW: defecations per week, F/M: female/male ratio, Rome II criteria: at least 12 weeks, which need not be consecutive, in the preceding 12 months, of two or more of: < 3 DPW, hard or lumpy stools in > 1/4 of defecations, straining in > 1/4, digital manipulation of stools in > 1/4, sensation of incomplete evacuation in > 1/4, sensation of anorectal obstruction or blockage in > 1/4, +: critical appraisal guidelines for research articles determining prevalence, developed by Loney et al14