Health-related quality of life in functional GI disorders: focus on constipation and resource utilization

Am J Gastroenterol. 2002 Aug;97(8):1986-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2002.05843.x.


Objective: Functional GI disorders are common in the general population. However, their impact on health status and health resource use in Canada has not been well examined. We describe 1) health-related quality of life in Canadians with functional constipation or other functional GI disorders versus Canadian normative data or those without a functional GI disorder and 2) health resource utilization in subject's self-reporting of constipation.

Methods: An independent research firm was employed to conduct a randomly selected national survey examining GI symptoms and personal health. Household members 18 yr or older were recruited by a random-digit dial technique. Participants were then mailed a questionnaire and data were retrieved by a follow-up phone call. All functional GI disorders were defined using Rome II criteria, and constipation was further defined using self-report. Health-related quality of life was assessed using the Short Form 36.

Results: One thousand one hundred forty-nine subjects (49.3% male) with a mean age of 42.2 yr completed the survey. The prevalence of any Rome II functional GI disorder was 61.7%. The rate of functional constipation was 14.9%, whereas that of self-reported constipation was 27.2%. The mean physical and mental component summary and eight subscores of the Short Form 36 were significantly lower (p < 0.05) than Canadian norms for both self-reported constipation and Rome II functional constipation. Subjects with no GI disorder had significantly better Short Form 36 scores than the Canadian norms. The rate of physician visits for constipation was strongly predicted by the physical component of the Short Form 36. Most subjects (66.2%) were satisfied with their current constipation treatment.

Conclusions: Constipation is common in the Canadian population and significantly impairs health-related quality of life. Poor quality of life is an important predictor of health care utilization in these subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Constipation / epidemiology*
  • Constipation / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires