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Constipation is associated with depression of any severity, but not with suicidal ideation: insights from a large cross-sectional study

Int J Colorectal Dis. 2023 Sep 15;38(1):231. doi: 10.1007/s00384-023-04520-8.


OBJECTIVE: The association between constipation and depression or suicidal ideation (SI) has not been adequately studied. This study aims to examine whether constipation is associated with depression or SI in US adults.

METHOD: 4,562 adults aged 20 and older were selected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2010 for the sample. The Bowel Health Questionnaire provided constipation information. Clinical depression and depression severity were assessed by the validated Patient Health Questionnaide-9 (PHQ-9), and item 9 of the PHQ-9 assessed SI. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using multivariate logistic regression models. Stability of the results was ensured by a subgroup analysis.

RESULT: After adjusting for covariates such as demographics, risk behaviors, associated comorbidities, dietary intake, and related medications, the PHQ-9 score and clinical depression were both significantly associated with constipation, with ORs and 95%CIs of 1.13 (1.10-1.16) and 3.76 (2.65-5.34). Depression of all severities was also significantly associated with constipation. The ORs and 95%CIs of constipation with mild depression, moderate depression, and moderately severe to severe depression were 2.21 (1.54-3.16), 3.69 (2.34-5.81) and 6.84 (4.19-11.15), respectively. Subgroup analyses showed no statistically significant interactions (P > 0.05), and the association was stronger in men than in women (OR: 7.81, 95%CI: 3.67-16.61 vs OR: 3.46, 95%CI: 2.31-5.19). The association between constipation and SI was not significant (OR: 1.36, 95%CI: 0.78-2.37).

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, constipation was significantly associated with depression of any severity, but not with SI, suggesting that enough attention should be paid to the emotional and psychological status of patients with constipation, especially male patients.

PMID:37713119 | DOI:10.1007/s00384-023-04520-8

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