Interpretation of overall colonic transit in defecation disorders in males and females


Address for Correspondence

Michael Camilleri, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St. S.W., Charlton 8-110, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.

Tel: 507 266 2305;




There is little information regarding gender-specific measurements of colonic transit and anorectal function in patients with defecation disorders (DD). To compare overall colonic transit by gender in DD.


In 407 patients with constipation due to DD diagnosed by a single gastroenterologist (1994–2012), DD was characterized by anorectal manometry, balloon expulsion test, and colonic transit by scintigraphy. The primary endpoint was overall colonic transit (geometric center, GC) at 24 h (GC24). Effects of gender in DD on colonic transit, and comparison with transit in 208 healthy controls were assessed by Mann–Whitney rank sum test. Secondary endpoints were maximum anal resting (ARP) and squeeze (ASP) pressures. We also tested association of the physiological endpoints among DD females by pregnancy history and among DD patients by colectomy history.

Key Results

The DD patients were 67 males (M) and 340 females (F). Significant differences by gender in DD patients were observed in GC24 (median: M: 2.2; F: 1.8; P = 0.01), ARP (median: M: 87.8 mmHg; F: 82.4 mmHg; P = 0.04), and ASP (median: M: 182.4 mmHg; F: 128.7 mmHg; P < 0.001). GC24 was slower in DD compared with same-gender healthy controls. GC24 did not differ among DD females by pregnancy history. Anorectal functions and upper GI transit did not differ among DD patients by colectomy history.

Conclusions & Inferences

Patients with DD have slower colonic transit compared with gender-matched controls. Among DD patients, males have higher ARP and ASP, and females have slower colonic transit. Although the clinical significance of these differences may be unclear, findings suggest that interpretation of these tests in suspected DD should be based on same-gender control data.