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Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2009 Sep;38(3):463-80. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2009.06.001.

Chronic constipation in the elderly.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, E6A, Mayo Clinic, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA.


Chronic constipation is a common problem in the elderly, with a variety of causes, including pelvic floor dysfunction, medication effects, and numerous age-specific conditions. A stepwise diagnostic and therapeutic approach to patients with chronic constipation based on historical and physical examination features is recommended. Prudent use of fiber supplements and laxative agents may be helpful for many patients. Based on their capabilities, patients with pelvic floor dysfunction should be considered for pelvic floor rehabilitation (biofeedback), although efficacy in the elderly is uncertain. Clinical awareness and focused testing to identify the physiologic abnormalities underlying constipation, while being mindful of situations unique to the elderly, facilitate management, and improve patient outcomes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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