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LY Chen, KY Ho, KH Phua, Community Medicine GI Study Group
Correspondence: Dr Khek Yu Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org
Background/Aim of Study Data on the epidemiology of bowel frequency and functional bowel disorders in the East are limited. The aims of this study were to determine the most common bowel frequency and the prevalence of functional bowel disorders in Singaporean adults.
Methods A cross sectional study, using a reliable and valid questionnaire was carried out in a random sample of residents aged 16 years and above in Bishan, 68% responded (n = 271).
Results The most common (59.0 +/- 6.5%) bowel frequency was once a day with 96.8 +/- 5.6% of individuals having bowel frequency between 3 times/week and 3 times/day. The prevalences of irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation and chronic diarrhoea were 3.2 +/- 2.3%, 7.3 +/- 3.5% and 6.9 +/- 3.4%, respectively. Women were found to have a lower bowel frequency (p < 0.001) and a higher prevalence of chronic constipation (11.3 +/- 6.0% vs. 3.6 + 3.5%, p < 0.05) than men.
Conclusion Normal bowel frequency may be defined as bowel movements between 3 times per week and three times per day. The prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome in the general population of Singapore was low compared with those reported in the West.
Keywords: bowel frequency, functional bowel disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhoea
Singapore Med J 2000; 41(6): 255-258