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Table 2 Characteristics of studies regarding the epidemiology of constipation in Europe, in special populations groups.

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
Lopez Cara MA 2006 Spain [23] Mailed questionnaire survey ≤ 3 DPW 414 (93) participants > 50 yr, selected by systematic random sampling 4.4 Consumption of olive oil, and meat. 4 F/M 2
Kinnunen 1990 Finland [24] Interview-questionnaire survey by public health nurse ≤ 3 DPW, difficulties in expelling stools because of the hardness or anal canal abnormalities 5 groups of middle aged and elder population.
1. Hospital: 439
2. Olds people's home: 183
3. Day hospital: 78
4. Home > 74 yrs: 138
5. Home 41–50 yrs: 74
Prevalence per 100 in the 5 groups
1st: females 79, males 81
2nd: females 57, males 64
3rd: females 30, males 25
4th: females 38, males 37
5th: females 20, males 3
Female gender. Fecal and urinary incontinence. Age. Immobility. Living in old people's homes and geriatric hospital. Age over 84 years. 5  
Bommelaer 1986 France [25] Interview-questionnaire survey, performed by a physician. ≤ 3 DPW 1200 participants. Randomized selection among healthy medical and para-medical personnel and medical students. Statistically tested to assure same participation of gender, age and socio-professional groups 6.3 Female gender. Use of laxatives. 3 F/M 1.12
Texerau 1989 France [26] Interview-questionnaire survey, performed by a gastroenterologist. Self reported 667 participants in 4 groups. 82 medical students, 206 patients from local health center, 210 adults interrogated in an occupational medicine office and 69 persons from an olds people house. 26   3 F/M 0.96
Chin A Paw M 2006 The Netherlands [27] RCT investigating the effects of training on constipation, questionnaire study Defined below* 172 (76.8) participants living in long-term care facilities, 64–94 yr 22   5  
Ludvigsson JF 2006 Sweden [28] Prospective cohort study, questionnaire survey Reported by parents 8341 (38.4) 2.5-yr-children from a birth cohort 6.5 Low maternal education, female sex, living in a large community, lack of older siblings 3  
Iacono G 2005 Italy [29] Prospective study, data obtained from 150 paediatricians One bowel movement every 3 days or more 2879 (96) newborns up to six months of age 17.6 Lower frequency of breastfeeding. 4 F/M 1
Miele E 2004 Italy [30] Prospective study, data obtained from 13 randomly selected paediatricians Rome criteria for children 9660 children, 0–12 yr 0.7   5 F/M 1.2
Soligo M 2006 Italy [31] Retrospective survey Decreased stool frequency, difficult stool passage 786 consecutive urogynecologic patients, average age 60 yr 31.7 Posterior colpocele 4  
  1. Abbreviations DPW: defecations per week, F/M: female/male ratio, RCT: randomized controlled trial, Rome criteria for children: in infants and preschool children, at least 2 wk of pebble-like, hard stools for a majority of stools, firm stools 2 or fewer times per week, and no evidence of structural, endocrine, or metabolic disease, *: at least one of less than three bowel movements weekly, hard or lumpy stools, straining on defecation, incomplete evacuation, in the preceding 12 months +: critical appraisal guidelines for research articles determining prevalence, developed by Loney et al14