Internet survey on the actual situation of constipation in the Japanese population under 70 years old: focus on functional constipation and constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome

J Gastroenterol. 2020 Jan;55(1):27-38. doi: 10.1007/s00535-019-01611-8. Epub 2019 Aug 19.


Background: In Japan, the prevalence of constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) and functional constipation (FC) diagnosed by the Rome III criteria is unclear, as are the demographic profile, quality of life (QOL), and habits of persons with IBS-C or FC.

Methods: We performed an internet survey of constipation. After extracting 3000 persons fitting the composition of the general Japanese population, we investigated demographic factors, lifestyle, defecation, and laxatives. IBS-C and FC were diagnosed by Rome III criteria. Respondents also completed the Japanese IBS severity index (IBS-SI-J), Japanese IBS QOL scale (IBS-QOL-J), SF-8, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and Japanese Health Practice Index (JHPI).

Results: There were 262 respondents with FC (8.73%) [73 men and 189 women; mean age: 49.8 ± 13.1 years; mean body mass index (BMI): 21.0 ± 3.3 g/m2] and 149 respondents with IBS-C (4.97%) (76 men and 73 women; mean age; 41.6 ± 13.7 years; mean BMI: 20.8 ± 3.0 kg/m2). Total IBS-QOL-J score were significantly lower in the IBS-C group than the FC group. With regard to SF-8, score of mental component summary (MCS) was significantly lower in the IBS-C group. The total IBS-SI-J score and item scores, except for satisfactory defecation, were significantly higher in the IBS-C group than the FC group. HADS showed a significant increase of anxiety and depression in both the groups, and the JHPI revealed insufficient sleep.

Conclusions: In Japan, among the population of under 70 years old, the prevalence of IBS-C and FC (Rome III criteria) was 4.97% and 8.76%, respectively. IBS-C caused more severe symptoms than FC, resulting in impairment of QOL.

Keywords: Constipation; Functional constipation; Internet survey; Irritable bowel syndrome; Rome III criteria.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / complications
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Constipation / diagnosis
  • Constipation / epidemiology*
  • Constipation / psychology
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome / psychology
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life / psychology
  • Severity of Illness Index