Constipation Has Serious Impact on Health of Older Women

Published Online: Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Follow Pharmacy_Times:
Constipation is clearly an uncomfortable condition, but the results of a recent study suggest that persistent constipation may have more serious consequences for older women. The study, published online on May 30, 2013, in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, analyzed the effect of persistent and transient constipation on health-related quality of life, depression, and mortality in elderly women.

The researchers selected more than 5000 women from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, which sent out a series of 5 surveys spaced 3 years apart. Women were selected if they responded to a question in all 5 surveys asking whether they had had constipation in the past 12 months.

Nearly 21% of the women selected reported persistent constipation on at least 4 of the surveys, while 54% reported having transient constipation on 1 to 3 surveys. Approximately 25% of those selected reported no constipation at all during the 15-year period covered by the study. Women with persistent constipation also reported significantly lower quality of life and higher levels of depression.

The mortality rate for women with persistent constipation was 11%, while the rate for women without constipation was 8.2%. The decrease in quality of life and increased rates of depression and mortality in women with persistent constipation remained significant even after adjusting for chronic illnesses.

Related Articles
Gastroprotective agents may be needed in postmenopausal women taking bisphosphonates.
Since patients with Barrett’s esophagus seem to progress to cancerous stages faster than others, health care professionals might perceive that controlling acid reflux would prevent the transition.
Women with celiac disease do not report more fertility problems than the general population.
Adults aged 50 years or older who feel comfortable about aging are more likely to seek preventive health care services.
Latest Issues
  • photo
    Pharmacy Times
    Health-System Edition
    Directions in Pharmacy
    OTC Guide
    Generic Supplements
  • photo
    Pharmacy Careers
    Specialty Pharmacy Times