Korean J Med.  2013 Jan;84(1):49-61.

Characteristics of Korean Patients with Constipation Who Visited a Tertiary Referral Center

  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Asan Digestive Disease Research Institute, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. sjmyung@amc.seoul.kr


Korean patients with constipation have differences, both among themselves and as compared to other populations, with regard to race, diet, and cultural factors and are expected to have different characteristics to those of western patients, but few studies have been conducted in this regard. We evaluated the epidemiological and physiological characteristics of patients with constipation who visited a tertiary referral center.
A total of 338 patients with constipation were included. They completed a questionnaire and took physiological tests such as defecography, colon transit time, and anorectal manometry. We classified the types of constipation according to the physiological tests and analyzed the results.
The mean age of the study patients was 53.8 +/- 16.3 years and 42.3% of the patients were > or = 60 years old. Patients who had tried folk remedies reached 64.3%. Among the self-reported patients with constipation, 89.1% satisfied the Rome III criteria for constipation. However, 84% of the patients who did not satisfy the criteria showed abnormal results on the physiological tests. Patients with normal transit constipation, slow transit constipation, and dyssynergic defecation were 21%, 27%, and 29% of the all patients, respectively. Rectal hyposensitivity was found in 16.9% of patients and 25% of them revealed anatomic abnormalities on defecography.
Korean patients with constipation have a tendency to delay an accurate diagnosis and treatment and to use folk remedies. As physiological tests for patients with constipation who visited a tertiary hospital showed a relatively high rate of abnormal results, such as dyssynergic defecation and anatomic problems, active physiological evaluations should be considered for such patients.


Constipation; Epidemiology; Physiological examinations
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