Epidemiology of slow and fast colonic transit using a scale of stool form in a community

R. S. Choung, G. R. Locke, A. R. Zinsmeister, C. D. Schleck, N. J. Talley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Measurement of gastrointestinal transit is commonly performed in the clinic, but data on transit in the community are lacking. Aim: To estimate the prevalence of slow and fast colonic transit using stool form, and potential risk factors. Methods: A validated self-reported gastrointestinal symptom questionnaire was mailed to 4196 randomly selected members of the community (response rate 54%). One question asked the subject to self-report their stool form using the Bristol Stool Scale. Results: Overall, 18%, 9% and 73% met stool form criteria for slow, fast or normal colonic transit, respectively. Increased odds for slow transit were observed with a higher Somatic Symptom Checklist score (OR = 1.6; 1.3-2.0), while a decreased odds for slow transit was observed in males relative to females (OR = 0.6; 0.5-0.8). An increased odds for fast transit was observed with higher Somatic Symptom Checklist score (OR = 2.3; 1.7-2.9) and a history of cholecystectomy (OR = 1.8; 1.2-2.8). Increasing body mass index (per 5 units) was associated with decreased odds for slow (OR = 0.85; 0.78-0.93), and an increased odds for fast (OR = 1.1; 1.04-1.24) colonic transit. Conclusion: Based on stool form assessment, nearly one in five community members may have slow colonic transit and one in 12 have accelerated colonic transit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1050
Number of pages8
JournalAlimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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