Constipation in the primary care setting: current concepts and misconceptions

Am J Med. 2006 Sep;119(9):736-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.03.025.


Constipation is prevalent in Western societies and is a common illness in clinical practice. A broader clinical definition, which encompasses difficult and infrequent defecation, has aligned medical concepts with that of patients and the general population. Unfortunately, there are widespread misconceptions concerning the origins and management of constipation within both the lay and medical communities that influence recommendations by health care practitioners. This review highlights and seeks to correct some of these misconceptions and provide treatment guidelines for the practicing physician.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cathartics / adverse effects
  • Cathartics / therapeutic use
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Constipation / epidemiology*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Primary Health Care*


  • Cathartics