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Frequency of defaecation and stool consistency in Nigerian students


, : Frequency of defaecation and stool consistency in Nigerian students. Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 98(4): 228-232

To provide a context in which to interpret reports of bowel dysfunction, it is important to know bowel patterns of the general population. We asked 600 apparently healthy students at the Medical School of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, to complete a questionnaire. Their diet consists mainly of foods derived from tubers and legumes such as yam, cassava and beans. The majority of our students defaecated between three times per day and three times per week. Subjects with one bowel movement per day were in the minority. There were no marked differences in bowel frequencies between sexes or nationalities. Most defaecations occurred in the early morning, in women earlier than in men. There was no relation between bowel frequency and stool consistency. Approximately 20% of subjects took laxatives regularly. More often than not, laxatives were taken for reasons unrelated to bowel habit, indicating the need for a health education programme to warn against self-medication and indiscriminate use of laxatives in the population. Our results are compared to reported findings in surveys of other populations.

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PMID: 7636918


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