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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2016, Article ID 3186016, 9 pages
Research Article

Functional Constipation and Constipation-Predominant Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the General Population: Data from the GECCO Study

1Department of Internal Medicine VI, University Hospital Tübingen, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany
2infas Institut, 53113 Bonn, Germany

Received 21 October 2015; Accepted 22 November 2015

Academic Editor: Spiros D. Ladas

Copyright © 2016 Paul Enck et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The prevalence of constipation in the (German) population has been shown to be 14.9% in a telephone survey, but more detailed data are required to characterize the sociographics and clinical characteristics of persons with different types of functional constipation, either constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C) or functional constipation with or without meeting Rome criteria. Methods. Of 2239 constipated individuals identified during the telephone interview, 1037 (46.3%) were willing to provide a postal address for a questionnaire, of which 589 (56.8%) returned the questionnaire, inquiring about sociographic data, clinical symptoms, and health care behavior related to constipation, as well as health-related quality-of-life (SF12). Subgroups of functionally constipated individuals were compared. Results. More than 50% of the respondents reported a somatic comorbid condition and/or regular medication intake that may contribute to constipation. We split the remaining individuals () into three groups, matching Rome-criteria for IBS (IBS-C, ) and for functional constipation (FC-R, ) and FC not matching Rome criteria (). Nearly all sociographic and clinical characteristics were equal among them, and all individuals with constipation had similar and lowered QOL on the SF-12 physical health domain, but in IBS-C the scores were also significantly lower in comparison to FC-R and FC, in both the physical health and the mental health domain. Conclusion. Only a fraction of individuals with chronic constipation match Rome criteria for IBS-C or FC, but subgroups do not differ with respect to most other measures except quality-of-life profiles.