BACKGROUND: There is few information concerning constipation in adolescence. AIMS: To evaluate the prevalence of constipation in adolescents enrolled in schools settled down in the city of São José dos Campos, state of São Paulo, Brazil, and in their biological parents. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A transversal study was carried out by analyzing a convenience sample which included adolescents between 9 years and 9 months and 18 years and 7 months old and their parents in five schools situated in São José dos Campos, SP. Data was obtained from an individual and personal questionnaire filled by the father, the mother and the adolescent. Three hundred and seventy two adolescents were studied. Constipation was defined as the elimination of hard stools and the presence of at least one of the following: painful or difficult defecation, soiling or bloody stools. Scybalous feces or dry cracked stools or the defecation frequency equal or minor than two per week were considered criteria for characterization of constipation. Rome II criteria was used for evaluate the prevalence of constipation in the parents. RESULTS: The prevalence of constipation in adolescents was 22.3%, being it more frequent in female (27.4%) than in male (14.9%). Among the fathers, the prevalence of constipation (7.3%; 20/274) was lower than in the mothers. Kappa's coefficient showed a slight concordance in the concomitance of constipation in the adolescent and his/her mother (kappa = 0.12) and in the adolescent and his/her father (kappa = 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Intestinal constipation is a prevalent disturbance in the studied group of adolescents. However, it was not found relevant concordance between constipation in the adolescents and their parents.
Constipation; epidemiology; Adolescent