Objectives To determine the prevalence and risk factors for functional constipation (FC) in adolescent Nigerians.
Method A cross-sectional study was conducted in rural and urban areas of two states in the southern part of Nigeria. Adolescents aged 10–18 years were recruited from 11 secondary schools, using a stratified random sampling technique. A validated self-administered questionnaire on Rome III criteria for diagnosing FC and its predisposing factors was filled by each participant in a classroom setting.
Results A total of 874 questionnaires was distributed and 818 (93%) properly filled questionnaires were included in the analysis. The mean age of the participants was 14.6±2.0 years with 409 (50%) being boys. FC was present in 223 (27%) with no difference in prevalence between sexes. Prevalence of FC was 29% in urban areas and 26% in rural areas (p>0.05). The condition was significantly associated with low social class (p=0.013). Exposure to stressful life events at home and school did not predispose the participants to develop FC.
Conclusions FC is a significant health problem among adolescent Nigerians. The condition is associated with low social class.
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Contributors MAB conceived, supervised and made critical inputs to the final version of the manuscript. SR updated the data collection tool and contributed to the writing of the manuscript. NMD analysed the data and contributed to the writing of the manuscript. EEU collected the data and contributed to the writing of the manuscript. All authors approved of the final version of the manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Obtained.
Ethics approval The Cross River State and the University Health Research Ethics Committees. Approvals for the conduct of the study were also obtained from the Commissioners of Education in both states and the heads of the selected secondary schools.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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