- Bolivian migrants with Chagas disease in Barcelona, Spain: a qualitative study of dietary changes and digestive problems
- International Health
- Volume | Issue number
- 3 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Due to international migration, Chagas disease, endemic in Latin America, has become more common in non-endemic areas. Chronic Chagas disease can cause damage to the digestive system leading to constipation. However, a range of factors influences constipation and a better understanding of the role of non-Chagas related factors is required to improve management of Chagas-related digestive problems. This study explores perceptions of constipation and changes in food and exercise habits amongst Bolivians in Barcelona, Spain. Bolivian migrants attending the Tropical Medicine Unit (Hospital Clínic, Barcelona) were interviewed about their food habits in Spain and Bolivia, migratory experience, work and leisure activities. Chagas seropositive participants also received radiological examinations. Bolivian migrants experienced dietary changes, influenced by work-related factors, which included reductions in quantities of food and liquid consumed. Almost half the participants reported changes in digestive rhythm since arriving in Spain. Constipation, which was common, in some cases was only recounted during interviews. Bolivian migrants’ constipation may be associated with chronic Chagas disease or migration-related dietary changes. Careful questioning using the Rome III criteria is however required to ensure its diagnosis. Radiological studies are also required to confirm the role of Chagas disease and identify potentially serious intestinal damage.
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