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People with an incurable illness may receive palliative care, which involves making the person as comfortable as possible by controlling pain and other distressing symptoms. People receiving palliative care commonly experience constipation. This is as a result of the use of medicines (e.g. morphine) for pain control, as well as disease, dietary and mobility factors. There is a wide range of laxatives available. The aim of this review was to determine what we know about the effectiveness of laxatives for the management of constipation in people receiving palliative care.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: May 13, 2015

Functional childhood constipation is a common problem. The term functional constipation is used when no underlying organic cause can be identified for the symptoms. Symptoms typically include decreased frequency of bowel movements, faecal incontinence and a change in consistency of stools. Despite the widespread use of laxatives by health professionals to manage constipation in children, there has been a long standing lack of evidence to support this practice.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: August 17, 2016

Women may experience constipation during the postpartum period. Consipation is defined as a functional bowel disorder that is characterised by pain and discomfort, straining, hard lumpy stools and a sense of incomplete bowel evacuation. Haemorrhoids, pain at the episiotomy site, effects of pregnancy hormones and iron supplementation can increase the risk of postpartum constipation; as can damage to the anal sphincter or pelvic floor muscles during childbirth. It is a source of concern to the new mother who is recovering from the stress of delivery. The discomfort does not only affect the mother's health, but also impacts on the new baby's well‐being, since it needs most of the mother's attention at this time.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: September 23, 2014

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