Chronic constipation is usually associated with young women, and urinary and sexual dysfunction has been reported as co-morbidity.
Elderly men also appear to suffer from chronic constipation, as well as lower urinary tract symptoms and erectile dysfunction, but their association as co-morbidity has not been studied in the community.
Professor Kok-Ann Gwee and colleagues from Singapore determined the prevalence of bowel symptoms with particular reference to the association with urinary and sexual dysfunction in the male population.
The team performed a population-based cross–sectional survey involving 2276 subjects representative of the Singapore population demographics to evaluate the prevalence of chronic bowel disturbances, lower urinary tract symptoms, and erectile dysfunction.
The researchers found that the prevalence of chronic constipation was 25% overall, with the highest in men aged more than 70 years followed by women aged 20–29 years.
The commonest symptoms reported in chronic constipation were hard stool, straining, and incomplete evacuation.
The team observed that bloating was often experienced by 26% of the community, among whom 61% had some form of bowel disturbance.
In men aged more than 30 years, lower urinary tract symptoms and erectile dysfunction were more common in men with than without chronic constipation.
Constipation was an independent predictor of erectile dysfunction.
Professor Gwee's team concludes, "In this Asian urban community, chronic constipation was more common than previously suspected, and urinary and erectile dysfunction were found to be co-morbidity in men."