Quality of life in patients with different types of functional constipation

Scand J Gastroenterol. 1997 Nov;32(11):1083-9. doi: 10.3109/00365529709002985.


Background: Little information is available about the health-related quality of life (QoL) in patients with different types of chronic constipation.

Methods: We used two self-administered questionnaires, the Psychological General Well-Being (PGWB) index and the Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS) to assess QoL and gastrointestinal symptoms in 102 consecutive patients with chronic constipation. The type of constipation was determined from transit time, electrophysiologic investigation of sphincter function, anorectal manometry, and defecography.

Results: Overall, our patients with constipation reported low scores for general well-being (mean score, 85.5, compared with 102.9 in a healthy population). Patients with normal-transit constipation (n = 49) reported considerably lower scores in the PGWB than those with slow-transit constipation (n = 35). The symptoms increased frequency of defecation, loose stools, and urgent need for defecation were commoner in normal-transit constipation, which indicates that this group may have a relation to the irritable bowel syndrome. The overall PGWB index was strongly correlated with the total GSRS (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The general well-being of patients with chronic constipation is lower than that of a comparable normal population. Symptom severity correlates negatively with perceived quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anal Canal / physiopathology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Constipation / physiopathology*
  • Constipation / psychology
  • Defecation / physiology
  • Defecography
  • Depression / psychology
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / pathology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / psychology
  • Gastrointestinal Transit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology
  • Quality of Life*
  • Rectum / physiopathology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors