We aimed to review the published literature regarding the epidemiology of constipation in the general paediatric and adult population and to assess its geographic, gender and age distribution, and associated factors. A search of the Medline database was performed. Study selection criteria included: (1) studies of population-based samples; (2) containing data on the prevalence of constipation without obvious organic aetiology; (3) in paediatric, adult or elderly population; (4) published in English and full manuscript form. Sixty-eight studies met our inclusion criteria. The prevalence of constipation in the worldwide general population ranged from 0.7% to 79% (median 16%). The epidemiology of constipation in children was investigated in 19 articles and prevalence rate was between 0.7% and 29.6% (median 12%). Female gender, increasing age, socioeconomic status and educational level seemed to affect constipation prevalence.
Copyright © 2010. Published by Elsevier Ltd.