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INTRODUCTION: Epidemiology data on constipation are not commonly available, particularly in Italy
Here we review the prevalence and clinical features of constipated patients attending a tertiary referral Italian center.
METHODS: Clinical data of patients attending our Coloproctology Unit in the last 15 years and complaining of constipation
as the main clinical features were retrospectively analyzed. Rome-III criteria were adoptedto define constipation.
RESULTS: 1041/11881 patients were affected by chronic constipation (8.8%), 376 had slow-transit constipation, 497
obstructed defecation and 168 both types of constipation. 76% of them were females. Patients distribution according to
sex and age was Gaussian-like only in females. In the slow-transit group, constipation was idiopathic in 59.3% and
secondary to other causes in 40.7% .
In patients with anatomic obstructed defecation, rectocele and intussusceptions were the main findings, while pelvic floor
dissynergia was the main finding in functional outlet obstruction, although more frequently all these components were
associated. In 14.8% no apparent cause was identified.
CONCLUSION: Constipation accounts for about 9% of patients attending a tertiary referral Colorectal Unit. Females were
much more frequently affected in both types of constipation. Anatomic and functional defecatory disturbances are frequently
associated, although in 15% no evident causes were identified.