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About - Constipation

A condition in which the stool becomes hard and dry. A person who is constipated usually has fewer than three bowel movements in a week. Bowel movements may be painful.

Results: 1 to 20 of 191

Stimulant laxatives for constipation and soiling in children

Constipation is a common childhood disorder traditionally treated with a combination of medical and behavioural approaches. There is insufficient evidence on the use and effectiveness of stimulant laxatives for the treatment of childhood constipation. More research is required.

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

Version: 2008

Comparing Drugs for Chronic Constipation

How do the drugs used to treat chronic constipation and irritable bowel syndrome with predominant constipation compare?

PubMed Clinical Q&A [Internet] - National Center for Biotechnology Information (US).

Version: November 1, 2007

Interventions for treating constipation in pregnancy

Mild laxatives help relieve constipation in pregnancy.

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

Version: 2015

Polyethylene Glycol should be used in preference to Lactulose in the treatment of Chronic Constipation.

Constipation is a common clinical problem, encompassing much more than reduced stool frequency. In this review we compared two commonly used osmotic laxatives, Lactulose and Polyethylene Glycol (PEG).

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

Version: 2011

Laxatives for the management of constipation in people receiving palliative care

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: 2015

No clear evidence that Cisapride relieves symptoms related to constipation or irritable bowel disease.

Cisapride has been used as a prokinetic to treat constipation, but was found to have some serious side effects and was directly associated with fatalities from those side effects. Though it has been removed from the market and has not been used in most of the world's health institutes, it can still be prescribed in certain situations and is easily purchased through dealers on the Internet. We conducted a systematic review to assess whether or not cisapride actually relieves constipation and controls the symptoms of irritable bowel disease, in addition to looking at whether or not these effects are worth its use compared to the risk of cisapride's dangerous side effects. Through a detailed look at the literature, we found no clear evidence to suggest that cisapride has a role in controlling symptoms related to constipation or IBS and believe its not worth the risk of its possibly fatal arrhythmia side effects.

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

Version: 2011

Tegaserod for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic, relapsing condition characterized by the presence of abdominal pain and disturbed bowel habit. Symptoms of chronic constipation frequently resemble those of constipation‐predominant IBS. Tegaserod (4 or 12 mg/day for 12 weeks), a drug that stimulates smooth muscle in the gastrointestinal tract, produces some benefit over placebo when used to treat IBS where constipation is a major symptom. Patients taking tegaserod reported an overall improvement in their IBS symptoms, an increase in number of bowel movements per day and a reduction in number of days without bowel movements. It is not clear if tegaserod improves symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, stool consistency and straining. When used to treat chronic constipation, the frequency of bowel movements increased with tegaserod, but increases over those seen with placebo were small. Diarrhea occurred more often among individuals taking high dose tegaserod (12 mg/day). Further studies are needed to assess the effect of tegaserod on quality of life. More information is needed on its effectiveness in men, as most of the studies involved women.

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

Version: 2008

Sacral nerve stimulation for treating faecal incontinence and constipation in adults

Importance of the review/Background: Faecal incontinence occurs when a person passes stools without the usual control. Constipation is harder to define but generally describes a situation in which a person feels that their bowel opening is unsatisfactory (usually a combination of difficulty or infrequency of passing stools). Both conditions can severely affect people's quality of life. There are many non‐surgical treatments for both conditions but occasionally surgery is required when other options fail. Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS) is a relatively new treatment for these conditions. It involves implanting a battery‐powered stimulator unit in the buttock. This is connected to electrodes which rest on the nerves in the lower spine. The stimulator then continuously sends impulses to the nerves and muscles that control the bowel and anus. Initially, a temporary electrode lead is connected to a portable battery unit outside the body. If symptoms are improved enough, this is replaced by the implanted battery.

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

Version: 2015

Management of faecal incontinence and constipation in adults with central nervous system diseases

Individuals with central nervous system disease or injury have a much higher risk of loss of bowel control and severe constipation than other people. This is called neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NBD). It can be very difficult to treat constipation without causing bowel leakage, or to prevent bowel leakage without causing constipation. The time spent on emptying the bowel is nearly always much greater for these individuals. Bowel problems like this cause a lot of anxiety and distress and can reduce the quality of life of those who suffer them. This review of research about NBD could be of interest to individuals with any damage to the central nervous system caused by disease or injury, or present at birth, which has a long term effect on how their bowel works.

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

Version: 2014

Laxatives for the management of childhood constipation

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: 2016

Interventions for treating postpartum constipation

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: 2014

Drug treatments for constipation caused by antipsychotic medications

Constipation is a common side effect for people taking antipsychotic medications, especially clozapine. It has been shown that clozapine reduces bowel motility, and the consequences of this are sometimes serious. For every thousand patients treated with clozapine, it is thought that 300 to 600 will suffer constipation; at least four will develop serious gastrointestinal complications (such as bowel obstruction), from which at least one will die.

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

Version: 2017

Interventions for treating constipation in pregnancy

The term 'constipation' is defined as difficulty in passing stool and reduced frequency of bowel movements. It is characterised by discomfort, excessive straining, hard or lumpy stools, a sensation of incomplete evacuation, and infrequent bowel movements. Constipation is a common symptom experienced during pregnancy. This can result from a combination of factors, including changes in hormones during pregnancy affecting the digestive system, reduced physical activity and changes in dietary habits during pregnancy. In addition, as the baby grows it can press on the mother's intestines and cause digestive delays/obstructions.

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

Version: 2015

Biofeedback (use of equipment to retrain the muscles around the anus and coordinated pushing) for the treatment of chronic constipation in adults

Chronic constipation (inability to achieve satisfactory bowel emptying for a prolonged period with no apparent medical cause) can be an embarrassing and socially restricting problem. There are many possible causes, including an inability to relax the muscles which control bowel movements. ’Biofeedback’, where computer equipment or a rectal balloon is used to show people how to coordinate and use the muscles properly, is often recommended.

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

Version: 2014

Transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TES) for treating long‐term constipation in children.

We reviewed the evidence about the effectiveness and safety of TES in improving constipation in children.

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

Version: 2016

Interventions for preventing constipation after giving birth

Constipation is a bowel disorder that is characterised by symptoms such as pain or discomfort, straining, hard lumpy stool and a sense of incomplete bowel evacuation. Pain and discomfort during defecation can be a source of concern to the new mother who is recuperating from the stress of delivery, particularly if she has had perineal tears repaired or has developed haemorrhoids. Postpartum constipation can be stressful for women because of undue pressure on the rectal wall, leading to restlessness and painful bowel movements which may affect the quality of life of the mother. The administration of enemas before labour, the ability of women to eat during active labour, and irregular and altered eating habits during the first few days after delivery can each have an influence on bowel movements in the days after giving birth. We aimed to find all the trials assessing interventions that could prevent postpartum constipation. We examined the available evidence up to 30 April 2015. We included five randomised controlled trials (involving a total of 1208 women from the first day of giving birth) in this review. Overall, the trials were poorly conducted and reported.

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

Version: 2015

Enlarged hemorrhoids: How can you relieve the symptoms yourself?

There is a lot of advice out there about how to relieve the symptoms of enlarged hemorrhoids yourself – including things like avoiding constipation, and using special ointments or warm baths. Some of these approaches can actually help, but many of them have not been tested in good scientific studies.If someone has enlarged hemorrhoids (also known as “piles”), trying to prevent constipation and changing their toilet habits can make an important difference. Various medications and other measures can also be tried out to relieve the symptoms. But this will not make enlarged hemorrhoids shrink again.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: January 29, 2014

Mu‐opioid antagonists in the treatment of bowel dysfunction as a result of previous treatment by opioids

There is insufficient evidence to show that new opioid antagonists are effective in treating constipation due to strong analgesics. Opioids (morphine‐like drugs) are substances used to treat severe pain. They cause many side effects, and frequently affect the stomach and bowels. Opioid‐induced bowel dysfunction (OBD) is a recently coined term used to describe constipation, incomplete evacuation of the bowels, bloating, and increased reflux of stomach contents. OBD occurs both with short and long term use of opioids, in patients with many types of diseases, and causes increased disease and reduced quality of life. Traditional opioid antagonists (drugs that block the receptors which opioids bind to) can be used to reverse many of the side effects of opioids, including constipation, but because they block opioid receptors in the brain, they may also reverse reduction of pain. The search for opioid antagonists that act only in the gut ("peripherally active" antagonists), therefore not reversing reduction of pain, has produced two new drugs, methylnaltrexone and alvimopan, which are at an advanced phase of development. There is not enough information to make firm conclusions about the safety or effectiveness of traditional opioid antagonists in the treatment of OBD. Alvimopan and methylnaltrexone both show promise in treating OBD, but further data will be required to fully assess their effectiveness.

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

Version: 2011

Irritable bowel syndrome: What helps – and what doesn’t

There are a lot of treatments for the relief of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – but there is a lack of good-quality research on them. Because the causes of IBS are not clear, it is difficult to find suitable treatments. But research has suggested that at least some medications and treatments may help.The main symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome are abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea. Most people only have mild symptoms that they can cope with fairly well without having treatment. Over time they learn to understand their body's signals. But some people have such severe symptoms that their everyday lives are greatly affected and it becomes very distressing. If that is the case, various treatment options can be considered.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: October 20, 2016

Irritable bowel syndrome: Overview

The typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) include abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea. Although IBS is not dangerous, the symptoms can be very painful and bothersome. Here you can find information on the various treatment options and what you can expect from them.

Informed Health Online [Internet] - Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG).

Version: October 20, 2016

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