The role of endoscopy in the evaluation of constipation is controversial. The aim of this study was to clarify the yield of lower endoscopy in patients with constipation.Endoscopic databases from 3 diverse hospitals were searched for procedures with constipation as an indication. Detection of neoplasia was the main outcome of interest.Among 19,764 sigmoidoscopies or colonoscopies, constipation was a procedure indication for 563 patients (mean age 61  years, 52% women); 58% had procedure indications in addition to constipation. Colorectal cancer was diagnosed in 8 (1.4%), adenomas in 82 (14.6%), and advanced lesions (cancer or adenoma with malignancy, high-grade dysplasia, villous features, or size > or = 10 mm) in 24 (4.3%). In the 358 patients who underwent colonoscopy, cancer was detected in 1.7%, adenomas in 19.6%, and advanced lesions in 5.9%. Two patients with cancer were less than 50 years of age. In as many as 6 patients with cancer, the tumor may have caused partial obstruction.The range of neoplasia in patients with constipation evaluated with lower endoscopy was comparable with what would be expected in asymptomatic subjects undergoing colorectal cancer screening. Although chronic constipation alone may not be an appropriate indication for lower endoscopy, age-appropriate colorectal cancer screening should be pursued when patients with constipation seek medical care.
View details for DOI 10.1067/mge.2002.126882
View details for Web of Science ID 000177775800001
View details for PubMedID 12196767