Constipation in Hospitalized Patients: A Study of Prevalence and Associated Factors : Journal of Wound Ostomy & Continence Nursing

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Constipation in Hospitalized Patients

A Study of Prevalence and Associated Factors

Junqueira, Jaqueline Betteloni; Norton, Christine; Santos, Vera Lúcia Conceição de Gouveia

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Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing 48(1):p 53-60, January/February 2021. | DOI: 10.1097/WON.0000000000000720



The purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence of constipation in hospitalized patients, along with sociodemographic and clinical variables associated with its occurrence.


Observational, cross-sectional study.


The study sample comprised 343 adult patients hospitalized at a University Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil.


Point-prevalence data were collected on the same day each month over a 4-month period. Data were collected via interviews, physical examination, medical record review, and completion of a data collection form that queried sociodemographic data and incorporated the Bowel Function in the Community instrument. Patients were classified as constipated if they met 2 or more of the Rome III criteria. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify clinical or sociodemographic factors associated with constipation.


Fifty-one patients had constipation, reflecting a point-prevalence of 14.8% (95% CI, 11.49-19.02). The prevalence of constipation was 15% in females (n = 29) and 14.7% in males (n = 22). Multivariable logistic regression showed that use of laxatives (OR = 9.98; 95% CI, 3.539-29.666) was associated with a higher likelihood of constipation.


The prevalence of constipation in hospitalized adult patients was lower than that in previous studies. Patients using laxatives were more likely to experience constipation.

© 2021 by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society

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